2018/19 ABSA Premiership
Highlands Park vs Free State Stars
Makhulong Stadium, Thembisa
Wednesday, April 17th
Kick-off at 19:30 (7:30pm)
Free State Stars will travel to Thembisa to take on an in-form Highlands Park outfit with Ea Lla Koto
in desperate need of maximum points in their quest to escape the dreaded relegation zone. The Free State side, in 15th
place on the log, are currently locked level on 24 points along with both Baroka and Chippa United with the pair just edging out ahead on goal difference.
The Lions of the North are unbeaten in their last three outings – a run that included back-to-back home wins over Baroka and Maritzburg United respectively as the Gauteng based outfit aim to secure their top-flight status for another season.
Coach Owen da Gama is no stranger to South African football and he recently praised his sides hard work after their victory on Saturday saw them climb into the top-half of the table. Out of all the teams below them on the table, only 9th
placed Golden Arrows have a better defensive record than Highlands while even more surprisingly they have bagged the same number of goals as defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Highlands Park recent results:
13/04 – Highlands 1-0 Maritzburg
17/03 – Chippa 1-1 Highlands
09/03 – Highlands 2-1 Baroka
Stars have free-fallen in recent weeks, with just three wins from 11 encounters in 2019. They were dumped out of the Nedbank Cup by lower league opponents Richards Bay and are without a victory from any of their last four ABSA Premiership encounters.
Despite their recent home form where Ea Lla Koto are unbeaten in their last three, their last outing saw Nikola Kavazovic’s side slump to a 2-1 defeat at Orlando Pirates as the Buccaneers stormed to the summit of the table - their second successive defeat away from home.
Free State Stars recent results:
13/04 – Pirates 2-1 FS Stars
16/03 – FS Stars 4-1 Amazulu
10/03 – Supersport 1-0 FS Stars
Wednesday’s affair will see the pair clash for just the fifth time in their history, including one in the Nedbank Cup last season.
Highlands Park vs Free State Stars head-to-head:
Highlands Wins: 1
FS Stars Wins: 2
Highlands Goals: 3
FS Stars Goals: 5
The duo’s first-ever meeting, in the corresponding fixture in 2016/17 – Highland’s only other season in the top-flight – saw the home side race into a two-goal lead before Stars pulled it back with two goals of their own in the final 20 minutes to secure a share of the spoils.
Highlands picked up their only victory over this weekend’s opponents with a 1-0 win the reverse fixture thanks to Mothobi Mvala’s 86th
minute strike. The 24-year-old South African is their leading marksman this season with 8 league goals to his name.
Stars got their revenge with a 2-0 win in the Nedbank Cup round of 32, before a 1-0 win at Goble Park in September of this season.
Eleazar Rodgers is the current man in form for stars, having found the back of the net four times in his last five appearances.
Highlands Park vs Free State Stars results:
22/09/2018 – FS Stars 1-0 Highlands
11/03/2017 – FS Stars 2-0 Highlands
05/03/2017 – FS Stars 0-1 Highlands
30/10/2016 – Highlands 2-2 FS Stars
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