Highlands, Chippa in relegation tussle

Surprise Moriri with Highlands Park teammates © Backpagepix

Highlands Park and Chippa United will square off in an Absa Premiership match at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Friday.

Kick-off is at 8pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).

The Lions of the North were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Platinum Stars in their previous league match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium last weekend.

The defeat extended Highlands' winless run in the league to six matches. They registered four defeats and two draws during their current run.

Highlands are placed 16th on the league table with 22 points from 27 matches. They are only two points behind 14th-placed Chippa United.

The Lions of the North will once again look to Mothobi Mvala, who scored their last goal in the league as they drew 1-1 with Bloemfontein Celtic two weeks ago.

Les Grobler, the Highlands caretaker coach, who was appointed after Gordon Igesund's dismissal, has urged his players to go out and fight for maximum points in their last two league games.

“We haven’t changed things drastically since we took over‚ we have just made small adjustments to how we play," Grobler said.

"We know that draws are probably not going to be good enough for us so we need to be brave and make decisions on the field that are going to help us score goals. We need the players to go out and fight.”

Meanwhile, Chippa were beaten 1-0 by Ajax Cape Town in their previous league match at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium last weekend.

This was the Chilli Boys' fourth consecutive defeat in the league. They are winless in 12 league matches - having lost seven and drawn five.

Chippa are placed 14th on the league standings with 24 points from 27 games. They are only above the relegation playoff spot on goal difference.

Lerato Manzini, the Chippa striker who has six league goals this season, will be keen to rediscover his scoring form and help his side end their winless run.

Chippa caretaker coach Mbuyiselo Sambu has urged his charges to keep a positive attitude ahead of their must-win match against the Lions of the North.

“We should not be losing games at home at this stage of the season," Sambu said.

“I told them to keep a positive attitude going to the next game. The squad is united and motivated to fight for this badge.

“The talk after the game was positive, and all I saw were players who want to put their bodies on the line, and we have the next game to prove it on the pitch.

When Highlands and Chippa locked horns in the first-round league match last December, the latter recorded a 2-0 win at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium.

Kashego Mashego opened the scoring for the Chilli Boys in the first half, before Lerato Manzini sealed their victory in the second half.