Johannesburg – Platinum Stars outshone and outsmarted defending Premier League champions and current log leaders Kaizer Chiefs at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, in Rustenburg on Wednesday night, with a convincing 2-0 victory.
It was only Amakhosi's third League defeat of the season and their first in four months.
It took only eight minutes for Stars to open the score through Siphelele Mthembu after Malawian international midfielder Robert Ng'ambi had split the Chiefs' defence and paved the way for an auspicious success.
And Ng'ambi continued to torment Chiefs when he scored in the 59th minute with a pin-point header from a precise cross from Lindokuhle Mbatha.
The decisive goal had the growing number of Stars' followers in the North-West Province in raptures and left the Chiefs' majority of fans in stunned silence.
And surely sharing equally in Stars' success were teams like Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns, who have come right back into the championship race after the defending champions had appeared to be marching meticulously to a second successive League title.
Wits, in particular, are now six points behind the log leaders with a game in hand and Chiefs' supremacy has also been dented on the eve of the derby clash against their great Soweto rivals, Orlando Prates, on Saturday afternoon.
Sharing honours as the main stars of a star-studded Platinum combination with Ng'ambi was goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, who brought off two memorable saves from Siphiwe Tshabalala and handled well-night faultlessly throughout.
Ironically, Stars were going through their least impressive spell of the season before turning matters round against Chiefs and coach Allan Freese said this was what made their success doubly pleasing.
“We were slipping out of the important top eight positions in the log and to find form again against a team of Chiefs' stature was simply great,” Freese said.
In the process, Stars now move from seventh place in the log to sixth and gave credence to Freese's claim “that no team can feel safe when they come to play us at home in Rustenburg.”
Controlling the midfield and frustrating Chiefs in a department in which they usually dominated was evergreen veteran Benson Mhlongo, who taunted Amakhosi in the controlling stages by holding onto possession and making sure there would not be a late revival by the log leaders.
Still, Chiefs almost reduced the deficit in the last five minutes through substitute Knowledge Musona and also made a concerted, seemingly valid appeal for a penalty immediately afterwards.
Reserve Chiefs goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse could hardly be blamed for Stars' goals, but perhaps indisposed captain Itumeleng Khune was missed for his mere presence and infectious confidence.
But with fewer chances, Stars generally appeared the more likely to score against a side that was often wayward with their finishing. – Sapa