Free State Stars grab crucial win over Wits


The relegation-threatened Stars had their captain Paulus Masehe sent off with second half in its infancy, but the hosts were still able to grab a winner through a Makhehlene Makhaula strike in the 74th minute.

The Free State outfit were able to hang on until the final whistle and collect all three points on offer.

With the timely victory, Stars move to 31 points – eight points clear of bottom-placed Moroka Swallows.

Earlier, Thulani Hlatshwayo had a chance to open the scoring inside the first five minutes, but his attempt did not trouble Daouda Diakite in the Stars goal.

Minutes later Wits were on the charge again with the shot coming in from midfielder Sandile Zuke, but Diakite had the strike covered.

Stars worked their way into the game and in the 12th minute put together a promising corner. Hendrik Somaeb sent the ball into the box and was met by Robert Sankara whose header went over the crossbar.

Zuke had another chance for Wits just after the quarter hour mark. From a free kick Zuke had a go at goal but again Diakite made the save.

Henry Botes made his presence felt for Wits with a shot in the 20th minute, but could not find a way past the Stars keeper.

Next to try his luck for Wits was Buhle Mkhwanazi, but like his teammates sent the ball into the arms of a grateful Diakite.

Just before 30 minutes were up, Wits produced yet another chance. From a free kick by Zuke, Thulani Hlatshwayo was able to meet the cross but his shot was just wide of the right-hand post.

The telling blow of the evening came just after the interval in the form of a red card. Masehe fouled Zuke, and the referee felt the offence was serious enough to give the player his marching orders and reduce the hosts to 10 men for the remainder of the clash.

Botes troubled the Stars defence again on the hour mark, but like his earlier effort Diakite stood firm.

Ultimately, Stars would have the final say as they collected a hard-fought win.

Original source: Free State Stars grab crucial win over Wits