Johannesburg – Free State Stars picked up their first win in eight league outings with a 2-1 victory over AmaZulu in their Absa Premiership match at Goble Park, in Bethlehem, on Saturday.
Goals in each half, courtesy of Luyolo Nomandela and substitute Danny Venter, was enough to secure victory for the Free State outfit.
Kagiso Senamela scored a consolation goal for the visitors with just four minutes remaining, but it was too late to affect the result.
AmaZulu controlled most of the first-half proceedings, only to see Stars grab the lead before the break with a good finish from Nomandela.
Venter sealed the result for the home side with just under 20 minutes left on the clock.
The result strengthened Stars' chances for a top-eight finish as they moved on to 37 points.
Earlier, Stars came close to opening the scoring at the 10 minute mark, but had a goal disallowed for a clear offside. Nomandela barged his way into the AmaZulu box and crossed for Dove Wome who nudged the ball into the back of the net only to have his effort scrapped for offside.
AmaZulu replied in the 12th minute with an attempt of their own. Ayanda Dlamini reeled off a shot from range, but Kennedy Mweene in the Stars goal made an easy gather.
Just after the quarter hour point, Wome struck an ambitious shot from well out, but the ball was straight at AmaZulu keeper Tapuwa Kapini.
AmaZulu had another good chance in the 29th minute. A defensive error left Goodman Dlamini one-on-one with the keeper, but the player rushed the chance and deposited the ball into the stands.
With the game seemingly heading to the interval bereft of goals, Nomandela was clinical with a sharp chance through a powerfully struck header from close range, to make it 1-0 to Stars.
Five minutes after the break, Tamsanqa Teyise went for the spectacular with a strike just outside the centre circle and the attempt needed a vital touch from Mweene to prevent the equaliser.
Venter scored the second goal for Stars in the 71st minute. Daniel Cardoso lofted the perfect cross into the box, but it was the solid first touch and faultless strike which gave Kapini no chance as Stars led 2-0.
In the 86th minute, Senamela pulled a goal back for AmaZulu with a curling free kick from the edge of the area. AmaZulu, however, could not find an equaliser in the dying stages of the clash. – Sapa