Absa Premiership

Platinum Stars down Maritzburg

2013-11-09 07:08
Tintswalo Tshabalala (Gallo)

Pietermaritzburg - A goal in the final minute by Tintswalo Tshabalala helped Platinum Stars climb to second on the Premiership log with a 2-1 victory over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday night.

Henrico Botes opened the scoring for the visitors after 16 minutes of an opening half they had dominated, before an own goal by Issa Sarr just before the hour allowed the hosts back into the game.

But Tshabalala had the final say when he collected a looping pass inside from Botes on the left and slotted between the legs of Shuaib Walters, who was outstanding for the entire game.

At the start, Stars should have taken the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when Lindokuhle Mbatha and Mogakolodi Ngele combined to set up Robert Ng'ambi inside the box, but the Malawian somehow skied a simple chance from six yards out.

Maritzburg responded straight away courtesy of Ryan de Jongh, whose direct run cut open the visiting defence, before his effort was deflected wide.

Nglele then sizzled over a dipping 25-yard strike as the lively start continued and it came as little surprise when Dikwena took the lead --Botes running towards the far post to collect Ng'ambi's ball and sending in a cross-goal effort to beat Shuaib Walters.

The United goalkeeper single-handedly kept his side in the game midway through the half when he dived to his right to keep out Mbatha from point-blank range after Botes flicked on expertly from a Tshabalala cross on the left.

There was finally a first real shot on goal when Thokozani Sekotlong managed to expertly shoot from a tight angle after escaping down the right, although Siyabonga Mpontshane managed to turn the ball wide.

De Jongh then shot wide from the subsequent corner kick.

Walters was again the hero five minutes before the interval when he made a double save to keep the score at 1-0, first saving at the feet of Botes and then acrobatically diving to his left to deny Mbatha.

After the break, Ngele had the first real opening that he fired over after a swift break forward, before the equaliser arrived from a Philani Zulu corner kick to the near post that went in off the head of Sarr, under pressure from Mohammed Awal, after 58 minutes.

Stars almost retook the lead straight away when Ng'ambi was on the end of a quick breakaway, only to once again be thwarted by the influential Walters.

Substitute Orlando Smeekes was then at the heart of two terrific United attacks. Both saw him race down the left and square with De Jongh somehow missing the target the first time, while the second ended with a brilliant tip-over from Mpontshane after a Mandaza shot was heading for the top corner.

And Clinton Larsen's men were made to pay for those misses when Tshabalala struck at the death to hand the Rustenburg side victory.

Read more on:    platinum stars  |  psl  |  soccer

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