Leonardo Castro of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Ryan De Jongh of Platinum Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 15 April 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Friday Apr 20, 2018. 09:30
Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars will renew their rivalry in the Nedbank Cup when they meet in the first semifinal, set for Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 21 April 2018, kick-off at 20h15.
Chiefs have earned their place in the final four thanks to victories over Golden Arrows (1-0), Stellenbosch FC (2-1) and Baroka FC (1-0) in the last 32, last 16 and quarterfinal respectively. Eric Mathoho (two), Ryan Moon, Bernard Parker, Joseph Molangoane and Leonard Castro have netted goals for the Soweto side thus far in the competition.
The Amakhosi are the most successful side in the history of the Nedbank Cup, having won the title no less than 13 times (1971, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1992, 2000, 2006, 2013). They are looking to return to the final for the first time in five years.
Stars advanced to the semifinals with wins over Super Eagles (2-1 after extra time), Chippa United (2-1) and Ubuntu Cape Town (4-2 on penalties, 1-1 draw after extra time) in the last 32, last 16 and quarterfinal respectively. Rooi Mahamutsa, Mohammed Anas, Paulus Masehe, Bengali Keita and Goodman Dlamini have scored a goal apiece in their campaign.
Ea Lla Koto have never won the Nedbank Cup, though they were runners-up in the 1994 final (as QwaQwa Stars). The last time they appeared in the semifinals of this competition was in 2016, when they were beaten 4-2 by Orlando Pirates.
Chiefs come into the game having claimed a 1-0 league win at home to bottom-of-the-log Platinum Stars last weekend, which was a fourth victory from their last six matches across all competitions, while Stars have gone three games without a win after they were held 1-1 by provincial rivals Bloemfontein Celtic in a league game last Saturday.
Chiefs and Stars have met in seven previous cup matches: the Soweto side has claimed three outright wins (plus one by penalties) compared to two outright victories (plus one by penalties) for the Free Staters. The teams’ most recent cup meeting was in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Telkom Knockout: the match ended 2-2 after extra time before Ea Lla Koto won 6-5 on penalties.
Overall, the teams have clashed in 44 matches across all competitions since 1996. Chiefs have claimed 27 wins compared to just five for Stars, while 12 games have been drawn. Amakhosi and Ea Lla Koto have met twice already this season: their first round league clash in November last year ended in a 1-1 draw, while the return game in Bethlehem earlier this month saw the Soweto side pick up a last-gasp 1-0 win thanks to an injury-time goal from Teenage Hadebe.