Free State Stars stand in Santos' path

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Kick off is at 15h00.

Coach David Bright has engineered a remarkable turnaround in the Peoples’ Team that has seen them installed as genuine PSL title contenders with five rounds of the league remaining.

They also have a good shot at winning the Nedbank Cup but must first set the record straight against Stars who handed Santos a 4-1 thrashing at Goble Park at the start of the second half of the league season in February.

That was the last time the Cape side tasted defeat. They have won seven of their last nine league games and dumped Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows out of the Nedbank Cup to establish themselves as the form team of South African football at the moment.

The same cannot be said of Stars. The Free State side did break a three-game losing streak with a draw against Ajax Cape Town in midweek, but they have not won any of their last six league games and are in real danger of finishing outside out of the top eight after being considered dark horses for the title just two months back.

In the Nedbank Cup, Stars first defeated Platinum Stars on penalties and then walloped First Division side Ikapa Sporting FC 8-1 in the last round, with both games at home. They also have a slight edge in head-to-head statistics, having won six matches to Santos’ five in their 20 meetings in league and cup since 1991.

Santos, however, did emerge triumphant in their one cup meeting, a third round match in 1991 that ended 1-1 before the Cape side progressed 3-2 on penalties.

Stars:Round Date H/A Opponent ResultLast 16 29/03/08 H Ikapa Sporting FC W 8-1Last 32 16/03/08 H Platinum Stars D 1-1 (4-3 pens)

Santos:Last 16 28/03/08 A Moroka Swallows W 3-1Last 32 16/03/08 H Orlando Pirates D 2-2 (5-4 pens)

HEAD TO HEAD STATS:All meetings since 1991:

1991Stars 2 (Chembo, Mwenya) Santos 2 (Crowie, Hoosain)Bob Save 3rd Rd - Santos 1 (Reiners) Stars 1 (Lupiya (pen)) – Santos won 3-2 on penalties

1992Santos 1 (Reiners) Stars 0Stars 1 (Vermeulen) Santos 0

1993Stars 0 Santos 0Santos 0 Stars 2 (Ngaduane 2)

1997/98Stars 2 (M.Tsotetsi, Mutale) Santos 0Santos 4 (Crowie, Notoane 2, Stober) Stars 1 (Ngaduane)

1998/98Santos 1 (Opara) Stars 1 (Khuse)Stars 1 (M.Tsotetsi) Santos 1 (Nechironga)

1999/2000Stars 1 (Tsiu) Santos 1 (Otieno)Santos 0 Stars 1 (Tsiu)

2000/01Santos 0 Stars 1 (Lechesa)Stars 0 Santos 0

2001/02Santos 1 (Raselemane) Stars 0Stars 1 (Lekone) Santos 2 (Xaba (og), Ithier)

2005/06Stars 0 Santos 0Santos 2 (O.Hendricks, Selolwane) Stars 0

2007/08Santos 2 (Chapman, Otieno) Stars 2 (Sibisi 2)Stars 4 (Ngcobo, Mbuyane 2, Mdluli) Santos 1 (Gabonamong)