Stellenbosch Football Club

Stellies Reserves back in the title race after defeating Downs

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With only six matches remaining in the season, Stellenbosch FC Reserves’ coach Evangelos Vellios believes securing a win in their previous match against Mamelodi Sundowns has given them motivation to tackle the final block of fixtures.

This past weekend saw the Young Maroons record a critical win over Sundowns in the race for the DStv Diski Challenge title, reducing Masandawana’s five-point gap at the top of the table to just two points heading into the business end of the season.

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A stellar performance from Stellies stopped the table-topping Sundowns from closing in on the title, and was spurred by the rare occurrence of two goals within the first five minutes from the hosts, taking an early lead through an own goal that was quickly followed by a strike from Thulani Mini.

“It was a massive win against Mamelodi Sundowns,” Vellios said, expressing his delight in his team’s performance. “What a great game of football with two really good football teams going at each other!

“The boys held their nerve at the end with a 2-1 win, and the result keeps our title hopes alive. It was a much-needed win, but it was also good from a development side to see the boys come through under pressure in a game that we needed to win. We came out on top at the end and I am really proud of the boys.”

With six tough matches ahead, the pressure to be crowned DStv Diski Challenge champion is becoming more challenging, but the coach says his side is one to be reckoned with for this year’s competition.

“Ultimately the pressure does unbelievable things, every game is getting harder,” Vellios added. “Teams are fighting for their own objectives, and for us as well, we have to manage the fact that we have to keep winning and handle that pressure.

“Everyone who plays against us has an opportunity to play against a strong team so they don’t need an invitation to fire themselves up. We know that every team will come against us trying to derail the party, so we have to be prepared for that.

“Our motivation and desire has to be bigger than the ones who are coming to play against us.”

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Stellies’ reserve team will be back in action this weekend to face Amazulu FC on Saturday, 6 April 2024 at 10:00 in Idas Valley Stadium, and Vellios insists that his side has what it takes to come out on top in what will be another tough encounter

“Amazulu is typically a hard game for us,” he concludes. “Over the years it’s been tough playing against them.

“They have improved their performances of late and it seems like they are re-building their program, so we are expecting a very tough game at home. They will always try to play to their identity, so we need to prepare well and come out fully focused to make sure we can perform and hopefully get the result.”