December 8, 2012 8:15 PM SAST
Royal Bafokeng Stadium — Phokeng, NW
Referee: K. Qongqo
Platinum Stars - Golden Arrows Preview: Stars aim to keep run going against struggling Durban side
But coach Cavin Johnson cautions his side that points will be hard to come by
By Ian Malcolm
Dikwena currently lie in third, five points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs, but that gap could be closed to just two if Orlando Pirates can do them a favour by winning the Soweto Derby.
Stars have won seven of their last eight league games, just a surprise 2-1 reversal at Chippa United ruining their run.
By contrast, Golden Arrows are languishing near the foot of the table, but are coming off a 2-0 win over Moroka Swallows in midweek.
Stars coach Cavin Johnson believes this will be a tough match for his side, but believes homeground advantage will be a big plus.
“I know Manqoba Mngqithi well and I know the brand of football he likes to play,’ Johnson says. “We will have to close them down, we will have to fight for the ball. They will have gained confidence from their win over Moroka Swallows in midweek and for me they are a dangerous opponent.
“We will have prepared well and we will have Vuyo Mere, Thuso Phala and Joseph Molangoane back from suspension. We might also have Benson Mhlongo fit again, we will assess him through the week.”
One player definitely out is Sibusiso Msomi, who received a late red card against The Team of Choice.
“It is disappointing for Sibusiso because he was out for a few games, came back and was playing well, and then gets this soft red card. He will miss a few games now which is bad for him and for us.”
Mngqithi was delighted not just with the win over Swallows, but also the clean-sheet, a rarity for his side this season. He was unhappy at the number of chances lost though.
"We dominated the game, but were scrappy in the final third. We had many opportunities, but unfortunately we didn't utilise the chances we had and made it very difficult for ourselves,” Mgqithi said.
"When we were leading 1-0, it looked like we could have thrown it all away. But fortunately we were able to keep them out and our goalkeeper and defenders did very well in that regard.
"The biggest challenge that we've had to overcome in recent weeks was to work harder on our defensive play. I knew the goals would come at some point. But not conceding here was very good on our part."
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Stars have a fine home record so far this season, with five wins and just one defeat from six matches.
- Golden Arrows have yet to win away from home this season, recording three draws and three defeats from six matches.
- In head-to-head stats, Stars and Arrows have met in 18 league matches since 2003/04. Dikwena have claimed seven wins compared to four for Abafana Bes’thende, while seven matches have ended in draws.
- Stars have won five of their nine home matches against Arrows, suffering defeat twice.
- Last season the Durban side won 3-1 at their home ground, but Dikwena replied with a 1-0 victory in the return game in Rustenburg.
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|-||Tintswalo Edward Tshabalala||Defender|
|-||Lindokuhle John Mbatha||Midfielder|
|-||Siphelele Promise Mthembu||Striker|
|-||Jabulani Innocent Nene||Midfielder|
|-||Thamsanqa Innocent Mkhize||Midfielder|
|-||Norman Ashley Smith||Striker|
|-||Thamsanqa Aubrey Gabuza||Striker|
|-||Gumede Nkosingiphile Cedric||Goalkeeper|
|-||Stanton Ramon Lewis||Striker|