Bongi Ntuli of Platinum Stars
Saturday Apr 07, 2018. 22:43
Platinum Stars claimed their first Absa Premiership win of 2018, as they defeated Polokwane City 2-0 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday evening.
Dikwena had gone 10 league games without a win since beating Bidvest Wits in December last year, and although this victory doesn’t lift them from last place on the log, it at least gives them some hope of avoiding relegation.
Rise and Shine are placed in the relative safety of 13th, though with only six points separating them from the red zone, they still have some work to do this season to ensure they retain their top-flight status.
The match got off to a sluggish start and neither side seemed able to move through the gears in what was a disappointing first half of football.
Stars looked marginally the more fluent team in the opening 30 minutes and created half chances for the likes of Bongi Ntuli and Riyaad Norodien, and while they had a few shots on target, City goalkeeper George Chigova was never truly tested.
The visitors gradually gained more confidence as the match went on and in the final 10 minutes of the first half they began to build some pressure on the hosts, though wayward shooting from Mondli Miya and Walter Musona left the game locked at 0-0 at the interval.
Stars started strongly in the second half, with Wangu Gome and Ntuli each coming close to opening the scoring within the first couple of minutes after the restart, while in the 52nd minute Ayanda Gcaba had a free header from a right-wing cross, but sent his glancing effort wide of the far post.
Around the hour mark Dikwena were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty, as City defender Thapelo Tshilo handled the ball while sliding along the ground, only for the assistant referee to ignore Ntuli’s vociferous appeals.
In the 66th minute the PSL’s leading marksman this season, Rise and Shine forward Rodney Ramagalela, should have added to his tally when he was teed up with a great sight of goal in the penalty area, only to slice his effort wide of the mark.
The deadlock was finally broken with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining: Stars substitute Gerald Phiri Jr played a great ball into the box from a free kick and Ntuli flicked home a header to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
Polokwane very nearly claimed an equaliser less than three minutes later, as Rendani Ndou got on the end of a corner kick from Jabu Maluleke and sent a header goal-wards, only to see it rebound off the crossbar.
Stars killed off the game deep in injury time when Phiri showed great composure in the box to open up space for a shot before slamming the ball past the goalkeeper to seal a 2-0 win.
Platinum Stars (0) 2 (Ntuli 75’, Phiri 90+7’)
Polokwane City 0
Stars: Mzimela, De Jongh, Sithole, Gcaba, Tshabangu (Mlilo 90+3’), Mere, Baloyi, Mkhabela, Gome (Phiri 73’), Norodien (Masalesa 85’), Ntuli
City: Chigova, Ravhuhali, Sikhosana, Tshilo, Seabi, Manaka, J. Maluleke, Phiri (Mngomezulu 88’), Miya (Ndou 57’), Musona (Tlolane 75’), Ramagalela