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Football | Absa Premiership

Ajax and Stars in Premiership six-pointer



Ajax Cape Town and Free State Stars will be desperate to move further away from the Absa Premiership relegation zone by claiming all three points when they lock horns at Athlone Stadium on Friday evening.

Kick-off is at 8:00pm.

Sitting at the wrong end of the log standings, both teams have highlighted the importance of this fixture with neither wanting to be drawn into a desperate fight for survival.

The Urban Warriors have yet to win a game in the New Year with Stanley Menzo's men playing to a third successive draw last time out; held to a goalless stalemate by SuperSport United in Tshwane.

Ea Lla Koto have had a change in coach since the last time the two teams cross swords, with the clash in Bethlehem earlier this season Menzo's first in charge of the Cape club.

"It is a team that is close to us on the log standings and also the first team I faced when I took over [as head coach]," said Menzo.

"They have changed coach in the meantime, I think it is a team that yes - they are low down on the log standings - but they are not an easy team to play against.

"They are very direct, have good individual players and they play at a high pace - a lot of runs from midfield. It won't be an easy game, but yes like I've said before, the teams around us - here is where we have to get our points," Menzo concluded.

Former Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows head coach Serame Letsoaka has been tasked with leading Ea Lla Koto to safety.

Free State Stars almost always seem to find a way to pull clear of the drop zone towards the business end of the campaign, but defeat to a struggling Highlands Park side served as a blow for the club - despite their subsequent Nedbank Cup triumph.

The 1-0 loss a second in succession in the league, with Letsoaka looking for an improved showing in attack.

“I think we had a very bad first half against Highlands, we had an improved second half but which was also not effective,” Letsoaka said. “If one looks at the match I think we had one shot at goal or rather one opportunity at goals.

“Our players, when they have the ball, they give it away, it’s a little bit of a worry. Muhammed Anas did not get enough service up front and a lot happened before the game but that’s not the excuse.

“The overall performance was not up to scratch and it’s one of those games that one needs to quickly forget," he concluded.

In head-to-head stats, Ajax and Stars have met in 27 league matches since 1999-00.

Ea Lla Koto have 13 wins compared to seven for the Urban Warriors, while seven matches have been drawn.

Ajax have won seven of their 13 home league matches against Stars, suffering three defeats in the process.

When the teams met earlier this season they played out a 1-1 draw in the Free State.

There has not been an away win in this fixture since Stars claimed a 2-0 victory in Cape Town in the first half of the 2001-02 season.



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