Last season’s highflyers square off at Goble Park tonight, 8 August 2018.
Last season, Free State Stars and Maritzburg United shocked the footballing fraternity where both teams finished in the top five and made it to the final of the Nedbank Cup.
The start of the season yielded similar results for the two teams. Maritzburg was beaten 2-0 in the KZN derby, while Free State Stars were slain 3-0 by a resurgent Bidvest Wits.
The game tonight is perfectly poised; a loss for either team tonight might have people chalking off their heroics from last season as nothing more than a fluke.
Fadlu Davids will be looking for players to step up and fill the void led by the departed Bevan Frasman and Lebohang Maboe.
Ea Lla Koto overhauled the squad this transfer window, signing 11 new players, most noticeably Eleazar Rodgers and William Twala, and releasing 14 players.
Last season both teams won their away fixtures against each other. Stars beat the Team of choice 1-0 in the first game before being hammered 3-0 in their own back yard.
Free State Stars will be reliant on their key players, namely the two front men Rogers and Tchilimbou. The pair failed to link up to good effect against Wits but there is no denying their individual quality. In the heart of the midfield, Paulus Mashehe will be looking to stifle Maritzburg creativity.
Siphesihle Ndlovu was a livewire against Golden Arrows, picking up from where he left off last season. Keegan Buchanan showed glimpses of brilliance and there was clearly a connection with Makaringe. Xulu was a revelation last season.
Both managers will be desperate for a win tonight, to ease the burden of expectations.
Have your say! What do you think?
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