TKO: Free State Stars v Bidvest Wits

Free State Stars welcome Bidvest Wits to Goble Park for a Telkom Knockout last 16 clash on Saturday.

Since 2009 both teams have played 22 matches in all competitions with Ea Lla Koto winning eight.

The Clever Boys have six victories while the other eight matches ended in a stalemate.

While Wits come into this game on top of the Premiership standings with 17 points from their nine games, Stars are in ninth place with 11 points.

In their last encounter, Gavin Hunt’s side drew 1-1 with Mamelodi Sundowns after beating Cape Town City 2-0, while Luc Eymael’s charges beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 after a 1-0 Chippa United loss.

Ahead of the match, Hunt told the press at a media day: “We are under no illusions that this is going to be a tough game for us, we are all trying to get through to the next round.

“If you get knocked out of Telkom in the first round it is a problem because you don’t play any football for a month and a half, I think we will play one game in the month of November.”

Eymael, meanwhile, says the advantage is with the home team. These two sides have met at this last-16 stage for the past three seasons, with the home team winning every time.

Stars won in 2015 and 2016‚ but Wits were victorious last season and ultimately went on to win the competition.

The Ea Lla Koto boss told TimesLIVE: “They are not happy about having to play us at Goble Park‚ I know this.

“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.

“You never plan for a game to lose or draw‚ you have to plan to win. In that way‚ the quality of what you do‚ your strengths and your weaknesses‚ should never change. We play one way.”

While Stars will be without captain Paulus Masehe‚ who is recovering from a knee injury, Wits have not announced any injury concerns.

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