Cape Town - Free State Stars coach Serame Letsoaka hailed his sides resilience, following their 3-2 victory against Orlando Pirates on Saturday night at the James Motlatsi Stadium.
Goals by Moeketsi Sekola, Paulus Masehe and Mohammed Anas helped the Bethlehem based-outfit move out of the relegation into 13th spot on the table.
Ea Lla Koto are now point behind the Buccaneers, who extended their winless streak to 12 consecutive games in the Premiership.
"I must give credit to the boys for the hard work they put," Letsoaka said in post-match comments.
"I'm happy with the three points, it doesn't matter how it came.
"The boys really fought for it, they defended very well in the last minutes and I give it to my boys after the hard work they put in."
Stars will next face Buccaneers in a Nedbank Cup last-16 encounter on Saturday at the James Motlatsi Stadium.
Kick off is at 20:15.