Stars, Baroka in battle to avoid axe

Baroka keeper Elvis Chipezeze.
Baroka keeper Elvis Chipezeze.
Image: Philip Maeta/ Gallo Images

As relegation-threatened Free State Stars and Baroka clash at Goble Park tonight (6pm) their match has the potential to give a slight indication if either of them can avoid the axe.

Stars are 13th on the table with 25 points, one ahead of Baroka in position 15. With only four matches to spare this season, for either team, winning tonight's match will definitely enhance their survival hopes.

Shortly after taking over the reigns in January this year, Stars coach Nikola Kavazovic made it clear that his strategy to survive was to collect wins at all cost against fellow strugglers. Facing Bakgaga at home gives the Ea Lla Koto tactician a perfect opportunity to prove it wasn't just talk.

In magnifying this clash, Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze likened it to a cup final. The Limpopo-based outfit hope to redeem themselves after losing 2-1 to title chasing Mamelodi Sundowns at home on Saturday.

"We [them and Stars] are in the same situation on the log, so this match is like a cup final. It's a do-or-die. At this stage of the season, it's either you eat or you be eaten. We must show that we deserve to stay in the Premiership by winning all our remaining games,'' Chipezeze told Sowetan yesterday.

"This match comes when we are still processing our defeat against Sundowns. So, it's a wonderful chance to bounce back. We made some silly mistakes sgainst Downs, such as losing the ball in our own half. Playing Stars is also a chance to prove that as a team we learnt from our mistakes of the past matches.''

The Zimbabwean-born shot-stopper has missed just four of Baroka's 26 league outings this term, conceding 22 goals in the process. Chipezeze, 29, also underlined the importance of keeping a clean sheet against Stars.

"I am eager to keep a clean sheet, especially since we are playing away. We have a good chance to win,'' added Chipezeze.

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