Stars seek revenge against Usuthu

Free State Stars will hope to continue with their fine run in the Absa Premiership when they host AmaZulu on Saturday night at Goble Park Stadium.

Kick-off is at 8:15pm.

Ea Lla Koto are motivated after frustrating log leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns in their midweek game away in Tshwane.

The 1-1 draw has lifted the morale of the Bethlehem-based side as they aim at cementing their spot in the top five.

Sitting fourth with 33 points from 21 matches means they have erased their relegation concerns for this term.

Shifting focus to the visitors, the 2016-17 National First Division campaigners are also out to bag a victory and get back to winning ways in the league.

Their aim is to avoid a return to the NFD and will chase a double after collecting a 1-0 win in the first round at home.

Looking at their previous two matches, they beat Mthatha Bucks on penalties in the Ke Yona competition and lost 2-0 to Maritzburg United in their KwaZulu-Natal derby.

Usuthu occupy the ninth spot on the log with 26 points and coach Cavin Johnson will have to rally behind his men to erase their loss in the KZN derby.

The Durban-based side will bank on their freshness after resting for the whole week and capitalise on the fact that Stars travelled to the Capital City on Wednesday.

Previous starting XI:

Free State Stars: Sangare, Masehe, Mobbie, Mahamutsa, Phungwayo, Vilakazi, Tchilimbou, Keita, Jantjie, Mthembu, Relebogile

AmaZulu: S. Mbatha, M. Gumede, Ouro-Akoriko, Nyongo, Mabiliso, Mnguni, Darpoh, Ncube, Karuru, Khenyeza, Nomvethe

Head- to-Head


Season Result Scorers

2010/11 Stars 1-1 AmaZulu Lebyane; Majoro (pen)

2011/12 AmaZulu 0-1 Stars Lebyane

2011/12 Stars 2-1 AmaZulu Manqele 2; Lewis

2012/13 AmaZulu 0-1 Stars Esterhuizen

2012/13 Stars 2-1 AmaZulu Mvula, Venter; Senamela

2013/14 Stars 1-1 AmaZulu A. Dlamini; Nyadombo (og)

2013/14 AmaZulu 2-1 Stars A. Dlamini, Gamildien; Henyekane

2014/15 Stars 0-0 AmaZulu

2014/15 AmaZulu 1-0 Stars Mabizela

2017/18 AmaZulu 1-0 Stars Nyongo (pen)

LEAGUE RECORD (since 1986)

Home Away Total


Stars 24 13 5 6 35 19 Stars 24 6 7 11 22 32 Stars 48 19 12 17 57 51

AmaZulu 24 11 7 6 32 22 AmaZulu 24 6 5 13 19 35 AmaZulu 48 17 12 19 51 57

What the teams are saying:

Free State Stars assistant coach David Vilakazi:

“This will be a tough game for us because we are fresh from another tough one on Wednesday, but we are motivated,” said Vilakazi.

“Confidence is high in camp after the boys fought hard against Sundowns, credit goes to them for grabbing a point.

“It was a long trip to Pretoria and we will work on the game, prepare for them, although we won’t have enough time compared to them.

“Our focus was on Sundowns, AmaZulu had a break and are ready to face us. Playing at home is not always a ticket to win a match.

“That notion is slowly changing in football, so all in all we are ready for the game and we will ensure we collect the points to remain in the top five.”

AmaZulu skipper Thapelo Nyongo:

“We are ready to go to Bethlehem I can say. It will be tough visiting them at their own backyard, but we will fight,” said Nyongo.

“We lost our game against Maritzburg in the derby and we have a chance to bounce back away. We have to put in an effort on Saturday.

“We respect them, we saw how they played against Sundowns and this means we will have a tough task.

“However, the mission is to focus on us, work hard and rectify our errors because we cannot rely on the opposition’s weaknesses.

“We count on our game plan, we are not a defending side, we go all out and play the game. So they must also expect a fight.”

Key players for Free State Stars:

Ali Sangare:

The goalkeeper was instrumental in their game against Sundowns. He made brilliant saves to deny Jeremy Brockie twice and will hope to continue at home.

Harris Tchilimbou:

Tchilimbou also had a brilliant game against Sundowns and came close to scoring. Coach Eymael will push him to deliver once again and see Usuthu off.

Key players for AmaZulu:

Thapelo Nyongo:

The skipper’s ability to lead the Usuthu troops will come to the fore on Saturday. The fact they beat Stars at home means their character will be tested in Bethlehem as the hosts will want revenge.

Siyethemba Mnguni:

The dreadlocked man has had a good season so far for the Durbanites. In his debut PSL season, he has done well and will be key for Johnson’s side in their quest to claim the three points.