MPUMALANGA Black Aces will travel to Rustenburg on Wednesday full of confidence ahead of their Absa Premiership match against Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, kick-off at 7.30pm.
The confidence is there because of the Mpumalanga side’s victory in their last league match, a 2-1 win over SuperSport United. That win saw Aces break a nine-match losing streak and claiming only their second win in the league since October last year.
Aces coach, Paul Dolezar, is fully aware of the benefits that win will have, “It was very important psychologically to get that win over SuperSport. It was very important for the club as a whole and from here we can go on and get more victories.”
The win pushed AmaZayoni’s points total up to eight from 17 games and they are now just three points behind second-from-bottom Moroka Swallows. The team, though, did not play in a league fixture over the weekend and Dolezar believes that will only benefit his side.
“I think the break is good. It gives the players time to rebuild and regroup. Also, the players who were slightly injured have more time to recover. I do not think it will hamper us not playing over the weekend,” said the coach.
Now going up against Platinum Stars, Aces will look for only their third win of the season and Dolezar believes his style of coaching will allow that to happen, “We are playing attacking football now and we are creating chances. We just need to score those goals. If you don’t score the goals, you can’t take the three points.”
Platinum Stars, on the other hand, will look to make the most of home advantage when they host the bottom-of-the-loggers. Of his side’s capabilities and possible victory, Stars’ coach Owen da Gama commented, “The team has a good fighting spirit and always put a lot of effort in on the field. That is the foundation of the team and because of that we are going places.”
Stars have won just one of their last seven games and will be looking to pick up all three points on offer in an attempt to break into the top half of the table. Dikwena played to a 1-1 draw away to Mamelodi Sundowns on the weekend, their fifth stalemate in their last seven league games and are now placed ninth on 21 points.
On the game against the Brazilians, Da Gama said, “We were under a lot of pressure in the game and I am proud of my boys. We defended well at times and at times we defended badly, but we got a point. You learn a lot playing against quality opposition like Sundowns and we will take that into our next match.”
Da Gama feels his side certainly has the talent to go places, but they just need to improve their finishing in front of goal, “We are going for the three points, but we need to be more decisive in front of goal. We have to work with what we have.”
In head-to-head stats, Stars and Aces have met just three times in the league, with all those matches played in the last season and a half. Their head-to-head record is dead even, with one win apiece, one draw and four goals scored by both teams against one another.
When they met earlier this season, Stars claimed a hard-fought 3-2 victory thanks to a last-gasp goal from Coldrin Coetzee.-Backpagepix