Absa Premiership

Platinum Stars down FS Stars

2013-04-03 20:16
Siphelele Mthembu (Backpage)
Johannesburg - Siphelele Mthembu struck in the second half as Platinum Stars held on to their slim title hopes with a 1-0 league win over Free State Stars in Phuthaditjhaba on Wednesday.

The visitors picked up their first victory in five Premiership games to stay within striking distance of second-placed Orlando Pirates.

Dikwena had the first attempt of the match, a tame effort by Thuso Phala from a free kick that sailed too high in the seventh minute.

The hosts, however, had two close chances midway through the first stanza, when Dove Wome's long-range shot was parried away by Siyabonga Mpontshane and Luyolo Nomandela's near strike was kept out by the Platinum Stars goal minder.

Elias Ngwepe and Tintswalo Tshabalala were afforded opportunities to put the visitors ahead, but they both fired well over the crossbar, and while Siphelele Mthembu also came close to handing them the advantage, Ea Lla Koto ‘keeper Tshepo Motsoeneng denied them the opener.

The Free State side were pushed back for much of the opening period, and while Lehlohonolo Thebakang did surge forward in the dying stages, his ambitious attempt was off target.

Free State Stars launched an onslaught after the break, in search of the opener, with Mpontshane repeatedly coming to the rescue of Dikwena as he kept out attempts from Wome, Thapelo Mkhatshwa, Danny Venter and Paulos Masehe.

They could not break through, however, and Mthembu put the visiting side ahead on the hour mark when he connected with an Elias Ngwepe cross from the left to find the back of the net.

Immediately, Platinum Stars tried to stretch the gap but Motsoeneng saved successive shots from Vuyo Mere and Mthembu to keep his side in the game.

At the other end, Mpontshane was again called to action, this time tipping a close-range Masehe effort around the post.

Despite sustained pressure from Ea Lla Koto, the visitors held on for the victory, as the Free State outfit lost points in the league battle, though they managed to cling to their place in the top half of the table.


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