FREE State Stars will look to claim another big scalp in the 2012 Nedbank Cup when they face Mamelodi Sundowns in a semifinal at the Lucas Moripe Stadium tomorrow night.
Steve Komphela’s side will be looking to clinch a place in the final and have the honour of eliminating South Africa’s three biggest and most successful clubs, as they have already overcome the Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in the previous two rounds.
However, the Brazilians will pose the toughest test Stars have faced. The Johan Neeskens-led side have brushed aside all of the Nedbank Cup opponents with apparent disdain, following up their record 24-0 win over Powerlines FC in the first round with comfortable 2-0 victories over Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United in which they barely seemed to break a sweat.
Head-to-head stats are very much in favour of ‘Downs, who have won 29 of the teams’ 59 meetings across all competitions since 1986. Ea Lla Koto, in contrast, have won just 13 of those matches.
In cup games, the Brazilians’ advantage is even more marked: 10 wins from 14 encounters with just three losses, the last of which came in 1996/97. The teams have been regular combatants in cup competitions in recent years but all of the encounters have gone the way of the team in yellow and blue.
Their last cup meeting was in the first round of the Telkom Knockout in 2009/10 and neutrals will hope for a similarly entertaining game on Saturday night: it ended 4-3 in favour of the Brazilians.
The teams have met just once so far this season, a league game back in December (just before the festive season break) which was a home match for Ea Lla Koto but was won 2-0 by ‘Downs, for whom Surprise Moriri and Lebohang Mokoena got on the score sheet.
Kick-off is at 20H15.-www.psl.co.za