Mathumo’s team to face Kaizer Chiefs, Sundowns in the last two games as relegation battle heats up
Simisani Mathumo’s Free State Stars recorded a vital point against 8th placed Highlands Park last week. The teams played to a 1-1 draw at the Makhulong Stadium on Wednesday night, the result saw Free State Stars climb out of the relegation zone.
Mathumo’s team was battling fellow countryman Lesenya Ramoraka’s club with both teams determined to get maximum points for different reasons, a share of the spoils proved to be the outcome with both teams satisfied with what they got.
Prior to the Highlands Park game, Nikola Kavazovic’s men were languishing in the dreaded zone and the prospect of meeting a top eight chasing team looked daunting but Stars held their nerve to avoid another collapse which would have seen them in a difficult situation as the season reaches its climax.
Stars drew first blood on the night as midfielder Sibusiso Hlubi scored in the 9th minute, they were pegged back in the 39th minute as Peter Shalulile equalized for Highlands Park. Although Stars are currently outside the relegation zone they have played game more than their closest rivals, Baroka FC who are one place below them.
A win or a draw for Baroka, in their game in hand, would see Stars dragged back into the relegation zone with four games to play. Ironically, Stars and Baroka are set to face each other tomorrow (Wednesday) in a battle to stay clear of the drop zone.
After the Baroka game, Mathumo and his teammates will have a tough run-in, their last three games will be against Golden Arrows (28 April), Kaizer Chiefs (4 May) and championship chasing Mamelodi Sundowns (11 May). At the very least, the club will be hoping for a lifeline of finishing in the relegation/playoffs spot, this would grant them a chance to fight to preserve their league status in the promotional and relegation tournament against First Division clubs.