at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – Free State Stars coach Steve Komphela says his side are not far off from where they wanted to be ahead of the two-month Premiership break for the holiday period and the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by Wits at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening, clinging to fourth position in the standings.
They were 10 points behind the league front runners, while the Students were left in ninth place, falling to the bottom half of the standings.
“In terms of our aims and objectives, we are still on track,” Komphela said.
“We are short by five points of where we wanted to be.
“The players will be back on January 14th, from there we will start preparing for the rest of our Premiership season.”
A late strike by Luyolo Nomandela ensured that the teams shared the spoils, after Wits' Calvin Kadi netted a second-half penalty to open the scoring.
Komphela praised Kadi's performance on the night, believing that the striker deserved his goal, and looked dangerous throughout the encounter.
“The problem was clear, Calvin Kadi was giving us lots of hard times,” Komphela said.
“He deserved a goal on the night, based on his personal performance.”
The former Bafana Bafana coach admitted that Stars started poorly, but he felt they had improved towards the end of the fixture, stealing a late point from his side's last Premiership match of the year.
“We didn't start well. The first 20 minutes were scrappy,” he said.
“Up until half-time I believed if we could go into the dressing room level, we could come away with something.
“We got better towards the end, we scored a last-minute goal, and we are notorious for that now.”
Although Stars' defender Daniel Cardoso handed Wits the opener when he brought Kadi down inside the area, Komphela said he sympathised with his defender, as Kadi did well to force the mistake.
“It could happen to anybody. I don't know whether Daniel touched the player or not,” he said.
“There's nothing we could do, we had to accept the circumstances.
“When a striker makes a run like that inside the box, you either get the ball from him or you concede the penalty.”
In Wednesday's other results, Orlando Pirates beat Golden Arrows 2-0 in Durban to stay second in the table and strugglers Moroka Swallows defeated Platinum Stars 2-0 in Dobsonville to break an eight-match winless streak.
Chippa United held Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 stalemate in Cape Town, SuperSport United beat Ajax Cape Town 2-1 in Polokwane, and Bloemfontein Celtic and Black Leopards played to a 1-1 draw at Free State Stadium.
On Tuesday, Maritzburg United and University of Pretoria had settled for a 1-1 draw at Harry Gwala Stadium, and Kaizer Chiefs defeated bottom feeders AmaZulu to stay one point clear of Pirates at the top of the table. – Sapa