Johannesburg – Platinum Stars climbed back into the top half of the Premiership table, striking twice in the second half to secure a 2-1 win over league strugglers Maritzburg United in Phokeng on Saturday.
“We played according to the plan we had and I'm happy we got a result,” said Stars coach Allan Freese.
The hosts dominated a tame first half but were unable to breach the Maritzburg defence in an effort to break the deadlock.
Malawian International Robert Ngambi had the first opportunity as early as the second minute, but he fired a low drive straight to United keeper Virgil Vries from a tight angle in the area.
Five minutes later, Siphelele Mthembu had an attempt from long range, taking advantage of a loose ball after defender Mario Booysen fell asleep, but his rushed shot was easily handled by Vries.
Thabiso Semenya blasted high and wide from just inside the area midway through the first period, and the sides remained deadlocked as they limped to the break.
The match burst to life in the second stanza, however, and the home side took the lead in the 55th minute when Mduduzi Nyanda received a clever chip from Ngambi in the box and slammed the ball into the back of the net.
The visitors struck back 10 minutes later when Terrance Mandaza controlled the ball well, after a corner that deflected off Siphelele Mthembu, to find the equaliser.
Ngambi had a chance to regain the lead soon afterwards but his close-range tap was smothered by Vries.
Stars nonetheless regained the advantage with 12 minutes left when Mahlatse Makudubela connected with a thunderous pass from Nyanda to score the winner.
“We had no reason to lose the match, but I must compliment Platinum Stars. They fought for it,” said Maritzburg coach Steve Komphela. – Sapa