It is third versus fourth in top-of-the-table clash in the Absa PremiershipPlatinum Stars will seek to keep the momentum of recent weeks going when they travel to Maritzburg United for an Absa Premiership clash at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday night.
Dikwena have won six of their last seven matches – including last time out at home to Kaizer Chiefs – a run which has elevated them to the position of unlikely title challengers this season.
Stars are in fourth position in the table, five points behind Chiefs and one behind third-placed Maritzburg.
It means they could overhaul their rivals with a win in this fixture, which would be another fine achievement from Cavin Johnson’s men in a season in which they continue to surprise.
But it will be no easy task against a home side who have gone six matches unbeaten (wining four times in that sequence) and racked up an impressive 3-1 away victory over Moroka Swallows in their last outing.
The task is made more difficult by the loss of skipper Vuyo Mere through suspension, and he is joined on the sidelines by recent new Bafana Bafana midfielder Thuso Phala, who also misses out after collecting his fourth yellow card in the win over Chiefs.
The loss of both will weaken the right-hand side of the team which has been such a great source of goals this season, including Mere with his crosses from the full-back position.
Indeed, only Chiefs (24 goals) and Moroka Swallows (19) have scored more than Dikwena’s 18 goals this season, with only Orlando Pirates and University of Pretoria stopping them from scoring.
Maritzburg have found the same success, though their season has been built more on defence than attack. Coach Ernst Middendorp has found the right formula with a small squad at the KwaZulu-Natal club, though they will be missing forward Orlando Smeekes through injury.
Victory for them could take them as high as second, for 24 hours at least, with Orlando Pirates only playing at Chippa United on Wednesday.
|DID YOU KNOW|
- In head-to-head stats, Maritzburg and Stars have met in 12 league matches since 2005/06. Dikwena have six wins to their name and the remainder of the matches are split evenly between draws and Maritzburg wins.
The KwaZulu-Natal side has won just two of their six home matches against Stars down the years, suffering three defeats in the process.
- Last season the Team of Choice took four points off Dikwena, winning 2-1 at home and drawing 1-1 away.