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Why Luc Eymael ‘knows Wits don't want to play Stars at Goble Park’

Luc Eymael, coach of Free State Stars.
Luc Eymael, coach of Free State Stars.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Free State Stars coach Luc Eymael believes home ground advantage could be a huge boost for his side as they prepare to face Bidvest Wits in the first round of the Telkom Knockout at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.

Astonishingly‚ this is the fourth season in a row that these two clubs have met in the last-16‚ with the three previous ties all being won by the home team.

Stars collected wins in Bethlehem in 2015 and 2016‚ but were beaten in Braamfontein last year as Wits went on to lift the trophy.

“They are not happy about having to play us at Goble Park‚ I know this‚” Eymael said.

“Last season we played them there [in Johannesburg] in the first round and we took it to extra time before losing [4-2]. Hopefully we can get our revenge this Saturday.”

Eymael said there is no doubt his side will push from the first minute for the win‚ even as they come up against one of the most decorated coaches in the Premier Soccer League in Wits’ Gavin Hunt.

“You never plan for a game to lose or draw‚ you have to plan to win‚” the Belgian coach says.

“In that way‚ the quality of what you do‚ your strengths and your weaknesses‚ should never change. We play one way.

“But Gavin is an experienced coach who has won top titles. I respect him a lot‚ we have a good understanding.

“It is a tough draw against a very good team who are currently top of the log in the league.”

Eymael confirmed that he will be without stalwart midfielder Paulus Masehe‚ who has a fractured knee after a challenge with Cape Town City’s Roland Putsche on August 29.

Amazingly‚ Masehe played on through the pain and only a recent MRI discovered the injury. The 35-year-old is expected to be missing for the next four weeks.

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