Johannesburg – Second half goals from Henrico Botes and Robert Ng'ambi handed Platinum Stars a 2-0 victory over visiting Maritzburg United, booking a spot in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout.
On the back of their MTN8 final triumph over Orlando Pirates last weekend, Stars backed-up their Cup success with a comfortable display in the searing heat of the North West province, as the game was halted twice in either half and players forced to take in liquid to remain hydrated.
United's Michael Morton should have put his side ahead as early as the second minute, but the midfielder failed to keep his shot down and sent his effort well over goal when it looked easier to score.
Stars replied through Ng'ambi, who forced United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters into making a superb save, as he parried away the Malawian's shot with a full-stretch dive to his left.
A quiet opening half came to an end, but not before Thokozani Sekotlong tested Walters having broken through the United defence, but a lack of pace and power saw the young midfielder thwarted by a straightforward stop for the keeper.
The hosts did not waste any time after the break, as Botes expertly rounded-off his chance to send Stars ahead.
Mduduzi Nyanda found Botes inside the area with a searching ball, before Botes cooly collected at his feet, beat his marker and fired home past Walters at his near post.
Ng'ambi then doubled the home side's advantage 11 minutes later with a delicate finish.
After receiving the ball inside the area to the left of goal, Ng'ambi remained composed and slotted home with a left-footed shot, stabbing home Stars' second and leaving United with a mountain to climb with a half-an-hour left to play. – Sapa