Chiefs, Stars battle for MTN8 semifinal berth

Chiefs, Stars battle for MTN8 semifinal berth
George Maluleka of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Morgan Gould of Supersport United during 2017 MTN8 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Supersport United at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban South Africa on 12 August 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 10, 2018. 13:30

Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars will battle for a place in the semifinals of the MTN8 when they meet at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, 11 August 2018, kick-off at 18h00.

Chiefs earned their place in the 11th edition of the ‘Wafa-Wafa’ by finishing third on the Absa Premiership log in 2017/18. The Soweto giants were eliminated in the quarterfinals of last year’s competition, losing 1-0 at home to SuperSport United.

The Amakhosi have an unrivalled pedigree in the MTN8, having won it a record 15 times (most recently in 2014). This year’s Top Eight cup must be seen as a priority for Chiefs and new coach Giovanni Solinas, who need a trophy early in the season to convince their demanding fans that a return to the top of South African football is a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’.

Stars’ place in this year’s MTN8 was secured with a sixth-place finish in the 2017/18 top flight. The Free State side were last in the ‘Wafa-Wafa’ in 2013, when they were beaten 3-0 by Platinum Stars in the quarterfinals.

Ea Lla Koto have never won the Top Eight and they have not advanced beyond the quarterfinals since MTN took over the competition’s naming rights, but their triumph in last season’s Nedbank Cup means they should not be underestimated.

In head-to-head stats, Chiefs and Stars have met in eight previous cup matches. Both the Amakhosi and Ea Lla Koto have picked up three outright wins (plus one each via penalties). The teams’ most recent knockout clash was in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup at the back end of last season – Stars claimed an upset 2-0 victory in Durban (en route to winning the competition) and the result saw the end of Steve Komphela’s reign as Chiefs coach.

Overall, the Soweto and Bethlehem side have met in 45 matches across all competitions since 1996. The Amakhosi have generally dominated the rivalry, with 27 wins compared to just six for Ea Lla Koto, while 12 matches have been drawn. In last season’s league encounters between the teams, Chiefs claimed four points thanks to a 1-1 home draw and 1-0 away victory.

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