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Football | Absa Premiership

Thabo Rakhale © Backpagepix

Chippa in must-win clash against Highlands



Chippa United face a mist-win Absa Premiership clash at home to Highlands Park on Sunday, 17 March 2019.

The match is set for the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with kick-off at 3.30pm CAT.

Chippa suffered a second successive defeat (and their 11th of the league season) when they gave up a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 away to Black Leopards on March 10.

The Chilli Boys have claimed 12 points from 11 home matches this season, with their last result as hosts a 1-0 loss to SuperSport United in early March.

Highlands claimed just their sixth win of the season when they defeated Baroka FC 2-1 at home on March 9, thanks to goals from Sello Motsepe and Mothobi Mvala.

The Lions of the North have claimed just 10 points from 12 away matches this season, with their last result on the road a 3-2 loss at Kaizer Chiefs in early March.

In head-to-head stats, Chippa and Highlands have clashed in three top-flight league matches since 2016/17. The Lions of the North have claimed two wins compared to one for the Chilli Boys. The Eastern Cape side’s only previous home game in the rivalry brought them a 2-0 win.

When the teams met earlier in the season, at the Makhulong Stadium in October 2018, Highlands won 2-1 thanks to strikes from Mothobi Mvala and Lindokuhle Mbatha.

WHAT THE TEAMS ARE SAYING

Chippa United coach Clinton Larsen

“Everybody wants points for various reasons,” said Larsen after the 3-2 loss to Leopards.

“Yes it’s is disappointing but when I look back at where we were two months ago, to what we are doing now as a team, it’s a huge improvement. Yes we have lost, but there are more positives than negatives to take out of the game.”

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama

"We don't worry about other teams, we are focusing on our game,” said Da Gama after the 2-1 win over Baroka.

“About the top eight, anything can still happen, but our main focus is building for next season, hopefully we will be a better side, especially in the final third.”

CHIPPA UNITED KEY PLAYERS

Thabo Rakhale – The speedy winger enjoyed a fine game against Black Leopards, racking up a goal and an assist in the first half. However, when Leopards took over after the break, he saw little of the ball and was a helpless passenger as the Chilli Boys succumbed 3-2 in Thohoyandou.

Gladwin Shitolo – The versatile Gladwin Shitolo has settled well as a centre-back for Chippa United, though he will have been disappointed with his team conceding three goals last time out. He and Frederic Nsabiyumva will be aiming for a more solid showing when they take on Highlands Park.

HIGHLANDS PARK KEY PLAYERS

Mothobi Mvala – The free-scoring midfielder got back in the goals for the first time in 2019 as he helped Highlands Park secure a key win over Baroka FC last weekend. He’ll hope that he can kick on for the remainder of the season and find the back of the net several more times, helping the Lions of the North rise up the table in the process.

Bevan Fransman – Despite Chippa United’s struggles, they still possess a potent attack and veteran defender Bevan Fransman will need to call on all of his experience and nous to ensure that Highlands aren’t overrun. The centre-back will also offer an attacking threat from the visitors’ set pieces.



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