BETHLEHEM – Free State Stars piled the hurt on Bidvest Wits when they beat the log leaders 3-1 in an Absa Premiership clash at Goble Park on Wednesday night. Stars led 1-0 at half-time.
The Free State side has, in the past, proved to be a bit of bogey team for Wits – and it was no different on Wednesday. While the result was disappointing for the Clever Boys, they managed to retain their position at the top of the PSL standings. With two games to go, Wits occupy the summit with 57 points, with Mamelodi Sundowns in second on 55.
In a tight opening to this encounter, Phakamani Mahlambi had an early attempt for Wits, but his shot was deflected wide. While Wits are the PSL’s current pacesetters, Stars were showing them no respect and impressed with their sound midfield organisation. And, in 24th minute, the Free State club’s hard work was rewarded when they took a 1-0 lead through Makhehlene Makhaula.
Wits had no choice but to come out and try to find an equaliser. Mahlambi had two more opportunities soon afterwards, but he had a header cleared and, on the second effort, the Stars defence was able to block his shot.
At the start of the second half, the Clever Boys made a change, bringing on Sifiso Miyeni for Mogakolodi Ngele. Mahlambi then had another chance but blazed it over the bar. In the 58th minute, Wits could have levelled, but, unfortunately, Vincent Pule’s shot cannoned against woodwork. Three minutes later, Wits made another change as they looked for something to spark their game, with Pule coming off and Daine Klate coming on.
All the while, though, Stars were impressive in the manner in which were going about their business. And it was no surprise when they went 2-0 in front with a goal from Mohammed Anas.
The Clever Boys then made their final change, with Thabang Monare replaced by striker James Keene. With a bit more urgency in attack now, they pulled one back, Cuthbert Malajila netting to make the score 2-1.
But just when it looked like Wits could perhaps kick on, their hopes were dashed when Miyeni was shown a straight red card for a foul on Anas. And Stars took full advantage by netting a third goal through Sinethemba Jantjie a minute before full-time to move away from the bottom two log positions.
African News Agency