Royal face uphill battle against Stars

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Free State Stars are racing against time to deliver on their promise of finishing well inside the top eight.

Ea Lla Koto welcome Thanda Royal Zulu in an Absa Premiership match at Goble Park in Bethlehem today at 3pm.

Sthembiso Ngcobo, commander of Stars' firing squad, said they wanted to make it two in a row against Amabhubhesi after defeating them 3-2 in the first round.

"It's gonna be a tough match because Royal are desperate to win all their remaining fixtures to stay clear from relegation.

"There will be no favours because we also want to see ourselves participating in the MTN8 next season. Royal must brace themselves for war," said Ngcobo.

Sibusiso Hadebe, Royal's winger, said: "We are aware that Stars have been doing well at home, so it will be a tough game. Our plan is to go all out for full points."

Stars welcome back Paulos Masehe, James Matola and Tshegofatso Mashego from suspension. But influential captain Duncan Lechesa is suspended after collecting a third booking against Amakhosi.

Royal are still reeling from a 3-1 defeat by Swallows on Sunday where Nkosinathi Nhleko netted his eighth league goal.

In Durban, AmaZulu look set to grab maximum points from inconsistent Lamontville Golden Arrows in a KwaZulu-Natal derby at Chatsworth Stadium at 3pm.