Johannesburg - First-half hero Patrick Malokase turned villain in the second period as 10-man Platinum Stars buried Jomo Cosmos with a thumping 4-1 Premiership victory in Phokeng on Wednesday evening.
Malokase struck a brace in the opening stanza, and while he was sent off with less than half an hour left, Stars ultimately dominated as they continued their climb towards the top half of the table.
Log-bottom Cosmos went down in their 14th defeat of the season as they looked lightly to face the automatic drop with four games left in the league campaign.
The visitors started well but fluffed a couple of early chances, with Matthew Rusike and Siyabonga Nontshinga missing the target.
Malokase also had an early opportunity, and while he was denied by Cosmos goalkeeper Avril Phali, who tipped his effort around the post, he made up for it in the 11th minute with a close-range strike to put the hosts ahead.
Themba Tshabalala fired over the bar for the visitors shortly afterwards and Lindokuhle Mbatha sent a shot wide to the right for Stars before Malokase stretched the gap further.
Connecting with a cross from Vuyo Mere, Malokase found the back of the net with a well-placed header for his sixth goal in as many matches.
Cosmos continued to put up a fight and Bamuza Sono came close to narrowing the gap when Jackson Mabokgwane was troubled for the first time in the match, though the fumbling Stars keeper managed to keep the ball out.
Cosmos managed to take control early in the second period as Stars seemed intent to sit back on defence, but again they wasted chances with Taongo Dondo blasting a long-range free kick over the bar and Mabokgwane keeping out a Nontshinga effort within five minutes of the break.
Perhaps sensing a late fight back, Stars regained composure, and while the sides traded blows throughout the remainder of the second period, neither was able to find the target.
Malokase was sent off with 25 minutes left after a dangerous tackle on Phaladi Kobola.
The visitors eventually hit back in the 80th minute when Robert Tomonyane struck with a close-range strike to put them back in the game.
Second-half Stars replacement Themba Ntumba, however, scored from the penalty spot in the dying stages and Sibusiso Msomi netted from close range in injury time to put the result beyond doubt.