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Football | Absa Premiership

Celtic, Stars geared for Free State derby

Bloemfontein Celtic welcome Free State Stars to the Free State Stadium in a highly anticipated Absa Premiership derby clash on Saturday, kick off at 15h00 (CAT, SA, GMT+2) .

Both sides are vying for a top four finish and both sides will need maximum points to realistically stand a chance of achieving that objective.

Phunya Sele Sele manager Clinton Larsen expects a tough game against their neighbours.

“We are expecting a tough battle with our neighbours. It is going to be a tense affair and everyone at the club is looking forward to the encounter. There is a lot to play for as we want to finish in the top four,” said Larsen.

Larsen added that his side have to make sure they win the clash as their rivals will be eager to close the gap between themselves and Siwelele.

The Celtic coach concluded that it will be a very successful season for the Free State side if they manage to finish fourth, coupled with the Telkom Knockout Cup earlier this season.

“We wanted to finish in the top five at the start of the season but that objective changed to top four as the season went on. It is going to be a very difficult game, we just have to make sure we win as they would also like to close the gap on us,” added Larsen.

“If we manage to finish in the top four, going with our Telkom Knockout Cup trophy it will be a very successful season in the history of this club.”

Free State Stars midfielder Luyolo Nomandela is also aware that if his side lose the derby game their chances of finishing in the top four are all but gone.

“We need to win the game, it’s going to be very difficult game, they are a very difficult team beat especially at home,” said Nomandela.

The Ea Lla Koto playmaker, who scored the winner in the reverse fixture, added that his side won’t sit back and let Celtic attack them. Rather they are going to attack their neighbours.

“We will go there and attack them, we won’t panic. We will get our plans together , go there and beat them,” added Nomandela

“It’s not just about attacking though; it’s about defending as well. If we can cut off the supply to their big strikers, we will profit and hopefully succeed.”

Celtic currently sit in fifth place on the log, three places and three points above their fierce rivals.

The reverse fixture in the ended in an 1-0 victory for Ea Lla Koto, thanks to an injury time strike from Nomandela.

Phunya Cele Cele though knocked their rivals out of the Telkom Knockout Cup at the semifinal stage, with an exciting 3-2 victory earlier this season.


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