Maboke Matlakala, front, continued his good form for Baroka on Tuesday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

Baroka FC striker Maboke Matlakala scored twice to see his side outplay Free State Stars 2-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday evening and move off the bottom of the Absa Premiership.

Matlakala and his teammates had a slow start to the encounter, which was dubbed as a six-pointer, as both teams tried to get away from the relegation zone.

While Baroka struggled to get a shot on target in the first half-hour, the breakthrough eventually came in the 40th minute when Matlakala left-footed shot went past a well-beaten Thela Ngobeni in goal for Stars.

The goalkeeper did well to keep Baroka out five minutes earlier, when he was equal to the task to save a goal-bound effort from Mxolisi Kunene.

Ghanaian striker Mohammed Anas did his best to try and spoil the Limpopo party by equalising with a right-footed effort for Stars on the hour mark, but there was no stopping Matlakala, who put Baroka back into the lead seven minutes later as he headed home from a corner kick supplied by Richard Matloga.

The match was played at a fast tempo, but the question on Baroka fans’ minds must be why the team were not able to play this type of competitive football earlier in the season.

Baroka, now on 21 points from 23 games, seem to have found a new zest for football at a key stage of the season, and have returned two wins and two draws in their last four league matches.

This has now led to Highlands Park replacing them in the 16th and last spot on the league table.

The Lions of the North, as Highlands are known, are on 20 points from 22 games, and will play Ajax Cape Town in the Mother City on Wednesday night.

The result will have caused further headaches for Stars coach Serame Letsoaka, whose side went into the match off the back of a 4-1 thumping by Orlando Pirates in a Nedbank Cup fixture at the weekend.

Stars also remain a part of the relegation discussion, as they sit on 22 points from 23 games.

Baroka will have just 72 hours’ rest before facing Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday, while Stars host injury-plagued league champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday.

African News Agency (ANA)