Stars edge closer to the drop

Stars edge closer to the drop
Daniel Cardoso of Kaizer Chiefs

by Staff Reporter

Saturday May 04, 2019. 17:05

Free State Stars’ Absa Premiership status is under serious threat after they could only draw 1-1 against Kaizer Chiefs at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result sees the Amakhosi remain in seventh place on the log, while Ea Lla Koto drop down to 15th and are now under threat of either direct relegation or having to fight for their lives in the playoffs.

The match started at a fierce pace, with the teams regularly trading attacks, though neither was able to properly test the goalkeepers, Bruce Bvuma and Badra Ali Sangare, in the early minutes.

Stars looked the more fluent team as the half wore on, with veteran Paulus Masehe dominating the midfield battle to lay the foundation for his team’s superior possession. The Ea Lla Koto captain also had one of the away side’s more notable goal attempts in the first stanza, sending a powerful long-range drive wide of Bvuma’s left-hand up right on 34 minutes.

A short while later Sangare was called into significant action for the first time, diving low to his right to smother an effort from Chiefs left-back Siphosakhe Ntiyantiya, while in the 45th minute Bvuma made an excellent save to tip away Sibusiso Hlubi’s goal-bound strike direct from a free kick.

The first half ended goalless, while a few minutes after the restart Chiefs were very lucky not to be reduced to 10 men, with Willard Katsande shown only a yellow for a two-footed, studs up challenge on Makhehlene Makhaula which really deserved a red.

Stars claimed the lead on 53 minutes, with Harris Tchilimbou beating Bvuma to a poor backpass from Ramahlwe Mphahlele – the defender got back to deny the Congolese, but Hlubi was on hand to pick up the loose ball and score into an empty net.

The Amakhosi responded by sending on both Lebogang Manyama and George Maluleka, and just after the hour mark they were awarded a debatable penalty for a perceived foul by Sifiso Mbhele on Leonardo Castro. Daniel Cardoso emphatically converted the spot kick to make it 1-1 on 65 minutes.

Stars responded well to Chiefs’ equaliser and created several chances to reclaim the lead, the best of which saw Tchilimbou somehow miss an open goal from virtually under the crossbar in the 74th minute.

The teams will wrap up their league seasons next Saturday, May 11. Chiefs will be away to Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, while Stars will host Mamelodi Sundowns at Goble Park.

Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Cardoso 65’ pen)
Free State Stars (0) 1 (Hlubi 53’)

Chiefs: Bvuma, Mphahlele, Moleko, Cardoso, Ntiyantiya, Andrianarimanana, Katsande (Maluleka 57’), Mahlasela (Manyama 56’), Parker, Castro, Billiat

Stars: Sangare, Mobbie, Mothumo, Mbhele, Phungwayo, Makhaula, Mokhuoane, Masehe, Jappie (Rodgers 85’), Tchilimbou, Hlubi

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