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Football | Absa Premiership

Phathutshedzo Nange © Backpagepix

Leopards aim to outshine Stars

Black Leopards and Free State Stars will lock horns in an Absa Premiership clash at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday, with both teams eager to return to winning ways in the league.

Kick-off at 3:30pm CAT.

Leopards suffered their fourth defeat of the season when they were beaten 1-0 at Golden Arrows earlier this month. The Limpopo side’s four defeats have arrived in their last five league outings.

Lidoda Duvha have claimed six points from their four home matches this season, and their last result as hosts was a 1-0 win over provincial rivals Baroka FC.

Stars played to just their third draw of the season when they were held 1-1 at home by Golden Arrows earlier this week. The Free State side struck late in the game through Judas Moseamedi to avoid defeat.

Ea Lla Koto have claimed just one point from five away games this season, with their last result on the road a 1-0 loss at Chippa United in early October.

The teams last met in the Absa Premiership in the 2012/13 season, with Stars completing a league ‘double’ by winning 2-1 away and 3-2 at home. The teams’ last four league meetings have produced 16 goals.

What they said:

Black Leopards head coach Joel Masutha

“If I talk with my players about relegation‚ it will be like I don’t trust them,” said Masutha.

"We don’t talk about that at all.

"We are not playing to avoid relegation.

"We have come here to the Absa Premiership to compete and I believe we can still finish in a comfortable position.”

Free State Stars head coach Luc Eymael

"For me the position on the log table isn’t the problem, the problem is that we are dropping points and we don't deserve to drop these points,” said Eymael.

“But we need again to work more to bring the luck on our side because we are not lucky at all. You know it's good to have statistics in the box, but it will be better to have a good statistic in the matter of scoring goals."

Key Players:

Black Leopards

Marks Munyai: The Black Leopards skipper will be eager to lead his side back to winning ways following what has been a baptism of fire in recent weeks. Not only key in defence, but also in creating chances from down the right flank, Munyai will be entrusted with leading his troops back to winning ways.

Phathutshedzo Nange: The hard-running midfielder has scored two goals in his last three games and in a team that has struggled to find the back of the net, goals from midfield is a valuable resource. The Lidoda Duvha faithful will be hoping for more of the same from Nange.

Free State Stars

Harris Tchilimbou: The creative midfield spark in the Ea Lla Koto team, Tchilimbou is not only key in setting up chances for the Free State club, but also finding the back of the net for the club. In what is expected to be scorching conditions, the visitors will be hoping for a moment of magic from the Congo international.

Makhehlene Makhaula: Ever present in the Ea Lla Koto team this season, Makhaula has donned the captain’s armband in the absence of Paulus Masehe in the last two games. He plays a key role in breaking down opposition attacks and sparking go forward ball – will be key in unsettling what will be a motivated Leopards unit.


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