Absa Premiership

Platinum Stars thump FS Stars

2013-08-10 17:34
Platinum Stars celebrate (Gallo Images)
Rustenburg - Last season's Premier League runners-up Platinum Stars continued to shine while gaining a clear-cut 3-0 win over Free State Stars in their opening round MTN8 competition match at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Saturday afternoon.

It was doubly satisfying for Platinum Stars as they qualified for the semi-finals of the competition which boasts a winner-takes-all R8m prize for the first time.

And although they lost their articulate coach, Cavin Johnson, to SuperSport United in somewhat controversial circumstances during the off-season, the burgeoning Platinum Stars continued where they left off under replacement Allan Freeze, who had been Johnson's assistant.

On a balmy, sunny afternoon, which replaced the recent cold snap, Platinum Stars put the heat on their opponents in the 26th minute when inspirational midfielder Benson Mhlongo rose majestically to head Lindokuhle Mbatha's corner into the roof of the net for the opening goal.

Platinum Stars' two other goals only emerged in the last 17 minutes of the game and, like the initial scoring effort, emerged from set pieces.

And like Mhlongo's opening goal, the second goal in the 73rd minute was again the product of a scintillating header, with Mthembu guiding Mogakolodi Ngele's 25m free-kick past bemused Free State Stars goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng.

Ngele, who starred for Platinum Stars last season with 10 goals, demonstrated he was still in scoring mode when he succeeded from a second acute angled free-kick which knocked the final nail into Free State Stars' coffin in referee's optional time.

Mbatha almost produced a fourth goal for Platinum Stars in the closing seconds when a snap shot was first saved by Motsoeneng and then a second attempt screamed centimetres over the crossbar.

Although Free State Stars had more possession than the final score suggested, they played without Platinum's fluidity and defensive stability while making a grim start to the new season by losing both their opening matches and conceding seven goals.

Clearly, they were missing influential Zambian goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene, who had moved the Mamelodi Sundowns.

As for Platinum Stars, all they missed were more supporters, in what was the sparsely-filled home stadium.

Scorers:

Platinum Stars (1) 3 (Mhlongo 26’, Mthembu S 74’, Ngele 80’)
Free State Stars 0

Teams:

Platinum Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mhlongo, Mbatha, Tshabalala (Nyanda 56’), Ng’ambi, Mthembu S (Botes 77’), Ngele (Msomi 84’), Mathe, Ngwepe

Free State Stars: Motsoeneng, Masehe, Ouro-Akoriko, Shabalala (Wiltwer 77’), Thebakang, Thlone, Mashego, Mthethwa, Mokoena, Venter (Nomandela 67’), Bobe (Sekola 56’)

Read more on:    platinum stars  |  free state stars  |  mtn8  |  soccer
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