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Football | Absa Premiership

Highlands look to blow away Leopards

Highlands Park FC will lock horns with Black Leopards FC in an Absa Premiership match at the Makhulong Stadium on Thursday.

Kick-off is at 3pm.

The Lions of the North marked their return to the top flight league with a 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium last weekend.

As a result, Highlands are placed eighth on the league standings with one point from one match. They are three points behind second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns.

Meanwhile, Leopards opened their 2018/19 season with a 1-0 win over their provincial rivals Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium last weekend.

As a result, Lidoda Duvha are placed seventh on the league standings with three points from one match. They are three points behind log leaders Bidvest Wits.

What are the teams saying

Highlands Park head coach Owen Da Gama

"Our captain Mothobi Mvala was not there (against Orlando Pirates). Our top goal scorer Peter Shalule was not there," he said.

"Mvala will return in the next game to add firepower. We look at where we can improve. I’m very happy with the spirit that the boys put in. Talent is important but spirit is just as important.”

Black Leopards head coach Joel Masutha

“The win (against Polokwane City) means nothing – we still have 29 league games to play. The feeling victory brings is good, but we have not yet achieved our goal," he said.

“We must continue working hard and improve with each game. We are back in the PSL to stay – but to achieve that, we need to collect every available point in the early stages of the season."

Highlands Park key players

Tapuwa Kapini: The experienced goalkeeper is one of the leaders in the Highlands team having played an important role in helping the team win the 2017/18 National First Division (NFD) title. The Zimbabwean will be keen to keep a clean sheet against Leopards.

Mothobi Mvala: The Highlands captain missed the team's encounter against Pirates last weekend and he is expected to make his return to action against Leopards. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder will be looking to lead his troops to victory at home.

Black Leopards key players

Jean Djunga Munganga: The Democratic Republic of Congo defender is one of the longest serving players in the Leopards side having joined the team in 2012. The towering defender will be looking to marshall the Leopards defence and ensure that they do not concede.

Karabo Tshepe: The attacking midfielder is a key player for Leopards having scored the only of the match as they beat Polokwane last weekend. The diminutive attacker will be eager to score again and help his side secure a victory against Highlands.


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