at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Patrick Malokase’s penalty 13 minutes from time helped Platinum Stars fight from a goal down to clinch a priceless 2-1 Premiership victory over 10-man AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.
Ayanda Dlamini opened the scoring with a tap-in for the hosts just before the hour-mark, with Henrico Botes equalising courtesy of a smart finish after 66 minutes.
But Belux Kasonga was dismissed for handling the ball and conceding a spot-kick which was converted by Malokase, who scored his fourth goal in five games in the process, as Dikwena sealed the win.
It was a much-needed three points for the Rustenburg outfit and they are now almost assured of their top-flight status after climbing to 10th place, comfortably clear of the relegation zone.
The first 45 minutes a poor affair as the teams struggled to find any momentum.
Botes and Robert Ngambi came close for Stars, while Ayanda Dlamini wasted the best of Usuthu’s openings when he failed to hit the target on three occasions.
The best of his chances came moments before the break, when Ramson Zhuwawo broke through the middle and then drifted away to the left, before squaring to the near post where Ayanda Dlamini stabbed wide.
It was scoreless at the interval and, after the restart, the game opened up a bit more.
Elias Ngwepe failed to hit the target with a 20-yard free-kick, while at the other end, Goodman Dlamini took longer than he should have to get a shot away as a superb chance went begging.
Ngambi then fired wide from six-yards out, before the deadlock was finally broken in the 58th minute when Goodman Dlamini drove into the right side of the box and played the ball across the face of goal where Ayanda Dlamini could hardly miss.
But Stars hit back eight minutes later when Vuyo Mere crossed accurately from the right and Botes expertly finished with a low 14-yard shot into the right corner.
With 14 minutes remaining, Kasonga was dismissed when he intentionally blocked a certain goal using his hands on the line after Botes had the ball cut back to him by Lindokuhle Mbatha.
Malokase drilled in the penalty to put the Platinum club 2-1 up.
Substitute Stanton Lewis had a good chance to equalise but saw his shot closed down by Jackson Mabokgwane.
Lewis then had another shot deflected over by a desperate defender throwing himself in front of the shot, while Ngwepe headed off the line from Ayanda Dlamini.
Mbatha should have sealed the win late on, but wastefully curled wide.
Five minutes of additional time were added and Marc van Heerden forced Mabokgwane to punch the ball away, with Siyabonga Vilane watching in agony as his touch at the back post was blocked by his own man on the line.
The loss was a blow to AmaZulu’s top-eight hopes and left them occupying that final top-half spot, although they have a game in hand. – Sapa