Johannesburg – High-flying Free State Stars struck back with two second-half goals to beat Black Leopards 2-1 in Polokwane on Saturday.
The victory extended Stars' unbeaten run to five straight Premiership encounters after Anver Esterhuizen levelled matters 20 minutes from time, before Thapelo Mkhatshwa grabbed the winner with less than two minutes remaining.
After a quiet opening quarter, the visitors were in with the first opportunity of the fixture, when Dove Wome hit a long-range effort after a good build-up from the Free State side allowed Luyolo Nomandela to feed Wome, who was thwarted by Leopards goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali.
Wome was in with another chance 10 minutes from the half-time break when he hit a well-directed free-kick at goal, beating Mtshali in his area but failing to find the target as the ball bounced narrowly wide of goal.
Stars continued to press as they went in search of the opener, with Angelo Kerspuy pushing his long-range effort narrowly wide of the mark, after a solid build-up from the visitors left the Leopards defence at sixes-and-sevens.
The second period started much the same as the first, with neither side creating any meaningful chances.
Leopards finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when Thabo Mongalo found the back of the net after receiving a pass on the edge of the Stars area and dispatching his curled effort toward the top-left corner of goal to beat Stars keeper Kennedy Mweene.
Esterhuizen cancelled out Leopards' opener in the 73rd minute when he rocketed an effort from well outside the home side's area, before taking a nasty deflection off Tiyani Mabunda, which ballooned over Mtshali.
Mkwanazi was on hand to round off the winner. Good work from Nomandela left Mkwanazi in front of goal and allowed the defender to slot home past Mtshali and hand the visitors the victory. – Sapa