Bloemfontein - Free State Stars fought have back from two goals down to earn a thrilling 3-2 win over SuperSport United in an Absa Premiership match at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Trailing 2-0 at the break to first half goals from Thuso Phala and Dove Wome, Ea Lla Koto showed tremendous spirit to drag themselves back into the game thanks to an own goal by Thabo Moloi, an equaliser from Angula Dacosta and a late winner from Rudolf Bester.
SuperSport got on the front foot right from the opening minutes, with Dove Wome testing goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali with an early shot direct from a free kick.
Mtshali was kept busy by an enthusiastic United attack, but he was beaten in the 20th minute by Thuso Phala, who finished off an assist by Bennett Chenene to put the visitors in the ascendancy.
Just four minutes later Cavin Johnson’s side doubled their advantage. This time Phala turned from scorer to provider, setting up Wome for his first goal in SuperSport colours.
Two goals down at the break, Stars coach Tom Saintfiet made a bold triple substitution at the start of the second half, sending on Katlego Mashego, Angula Dacosta and Rudolf Bester in place of Sibusiso Mthethwa, Sandile Mkhwanazi and Camaldine Abraw.
The changes forced Ea Lla Koto to up their game and they duly pulled a goal back midway through the second half, with SuperSport defender Thabo Moloi netting an own goal to take the score to 2-1.
United substitute Dino Ndlovu nearly restored the visitors’ two-goal lead with just under 10 minutes to play, but Mtshali was able to parry his goal-bound shot away for a corner kick.
The ‘keeper’s efforts were not in vain, as Stars found an equaliser in the 85th minute. Rookie defender Angula Dacosta turned home a cross from Moeketsi Sekola to make it 2-2 and set up a tense finish in which both teams pushed for a winner.
And Stars completed a superb turnaround two minutes into injury time when Bester turned home another assist from Sekola to make it 3-2 and secure the Free State side their first victory of the 2014/15 season.
Free State Stars (0) 3 (Moloi 68’ og, Dacosta 85’, Bester 90+2’)
SuperSport United (2) 2 (Phala 20’, Wome 24’)
Free State Stars: Mtshali, Mkhwanazi (Dacosta 46’), Sankara, Shabalala, Letuka, Mthethwa (Mashego 46’), Masehe, Mdluli, Sekola, Abraw (Bester 46’), Henyekane
SuperSport United: Williams, Moloi, Diouf, Teyise, Khumalo, Phala, Morton (Mkhabela 72’), Chenene (Ndlovu 76’), Mokeke, Wome (Mathebula 90+4’), Manzine