Siphelele Mthembu of Free State Stars
Wednesday Dec 13, 2017. 21:44
Free State Stars move up to sixth place on the Absa Premiership standings following a 1-0 win over SuperSport United at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Wednesday night.
Siphelele Mthembu with the decisive goal of the game as the hosts returned to winning ways in the league. Patrick Phungwayo, who teed up the goal, received his marching orders midway through the second-half.
SuperSport remain in 11th spot on the league standings.
Ea Lla Koto started the better of the two teams and dominated the early exchanges before eventually taking the lead with 25 minutes on the clock.
Mthembu with the easiest of finishes following an eye-catching move by the hosts down the left flank. Phungwayo the main protagonist as he linked up brilliantly with two teammates before firing a precise ball across the face of goal.
The hosts continued to boss proceedings and were only denied a second by the brilliance of Reyaad Pieterse. The shot-stopper doing exceptionally well to deny Goodman Dlamini before pulling off a world class save to keep out Mthembu from close range.
Eric Tinkler duly changed things up at the interval with Matsatsantsa reverting to a back four with Clayton Daniel deployed in a holding role. Reneilwe Letsholonyane making his way off the bench as the Tshwane giants went in search of the equalizer.
SuperSport looked a better team, but Stars remained resolute in defence. Chances, though, would come but Jeremy Brockie failed to connect after Thuso Phala played a dangerous ball into the New Zealand international's feet.
The visitors were handed a further lifeline as Phungwayo received his marching orders in the 68th minute following a dangerous tackle on Siyabonga Nhlapo.
Despite being a man down, Ea Lla Koto still posed a sizable threat and should've doubled their lead 10 minutes later only for Sinethemba Jantjie to scuff his effort over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
SuperSport threw everything but the kitchen sink at Stars in the closing stages with Bradley Grobler missing a gilt-edged chance late on as Luc Eymael's men ultimately held on for all three points.
Free State Stars (1) 1 (Mthembu 25')
SuperSport United (0) 0
Free State Stars: Sangare; Mobbie, Keita, Teyise, Phungwayo - Hlubi (Potsane 51'), Vilakazi, Makhaula (Abubaker 63'), Jantjie, Dlamini (Mashego 71'), Mthembu.
SuperSport United: Pieterse; Nhlapo, Gould, Egwuekwe, Daniels (Grobler 80'), Boateng (Myeni 65'), - Modiba, Mokeke (Letsholonyane 46'), Mokoena, Phala - Brockie.