Stars, Wits in yet another TKO battle

Stars, Wits in yet another TKO battle
Thabang Monare of Bidvest Wits during 2018 Absa Premiership match between Bidvest Wits and Polokwane City at Bidvest Wits Stadium in Johannesburg ,South Africa on 21 September 2018 ©Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Oct 19, 2018. 13:00

Free State Stars and Bidvest Wits will meet in the last 16 of the Telkom Knockout for the fourth successive season when they do battle at Goble Park on 20 October 2018, kick-off at 15h30.

The teams’ meeting at this same stage of the 2017 competition saw Wits claim a thrilling 4-2 win after extra time, with goals from Bongani Khumalo, Amr Gamal (two) and James Keene – the result set Gavin Hunt’s team on the path to glory, and they eventually claimed their third League Cup title (and a first in the TKO era) by defeating Bloemfontein Celtic in the final.

Overall, Stars and Wits have met in nine cup matches, with four outright wins for the Clever Boys (plus one by penalties) compared to three (plus one by penalties) for Ea Lla Koto.

Across all competitions, the teams have clashed in 65 matches since 1986. Wits have 23 wins compared to 19 for Stars, while 19 matches have been drawn. Their most recent meeting was an Absa Premiership clash at the start of this season, with the Clever Boys claiming an emphatic 3-0 win at home thanks to goals from Thulani Hlatshwayo, Mxolisi Machupu and Deon Hotto.

Stars (who are also former League Cup winners, claiming the title in 1994 when it was known as the Coca-Cola Cup) come into the game on the back of a 2-0 home win over Bloemfontein Celtic in their last league clash before the international break. The Free State side has had mixed results of late, with their last five outings producing two wins, one draw and two defeats.

Wits’ last outing before the international break was a 1-1 draw away to title rivals Mamelodi Sundowns. The Johannesburg side has won just one of their last four games but still come into this encounter with the distinction of being the top-flight league leaders.

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