Sinethemba Jantjie scored late to give Free State Stars a 2-1 victory against Orlando Pirates on Saturday evening, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
The visitors had the first effort at goal in the sixth minute but Justin Shonga’s shot was easily saved by goalkeeper Robert Sangare.
Jackson Mabokgwane showed his class to keep out Siphelele Mthembu’s goalbound header in the 20th minute, despite not being able to see much.
Neither side were able to dominate proceedings as both sides were presented with opportunities but failed to capitalise.
Luvuyo Memela came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the 0th minute, but his freekick from the edge of the area narrowly sailed over the crossbar.
Pirates were forced into an early substitution due to injury and Nyauza was replaced by Thabo Rakhale. The winger almost made an immediate impact as his venomous effort from outside the area was well stopped by Sangare.
The two teams went into the half-time break deadlocked at 0-0.
Sinethemba Jantjie, who proved to be a nuisance for the visitors defence in the first stanza picked up where he left off and was responsible for the opener which came in the 56th minute courtesy of an own-goal by defender Abbubaker Mobara.
Pirates were not to be deterred by the goal and immediately responded through Thabiso Kutumela who equalised three minutes later after some poor defending by the home side.
Sredojevic opted for his second change of the game as he threw in Thamsanqa Gabuza for Justin Shonga in the 62nd minute.
The pace of the game picked up considerably and Matlaba should have given his side the lead two minutes later when a swift counter attacking move saw the ball fall to his feet, but the defender blasted his effort over the bar.
Jantjie would prove to have the last laugh though as he slotted home from close range to restore his sides lead in the 83rd minute.
The goal proved enough to give Free State Stars victory and see them move into third spot on the table.
FS Stars XI: 23. Sangare, 2. Mobbie, 22. Keita, 6. Teyise, 4. Makhaula, 18. Potsane, 5. Masehe, 50. Vilakazi, 11. Jantjie, 26. Dlamini, 21. Mthembu.
Pirates XI: 16. Mabokgwane, 19. Chabalala, 6. Shitolo, 34. Nyauza, 8. Matlaba, 45. Mobara, 14. Nyatama, 11. Memela, 5. Makola, 24. Kutumela, 27. Shonga.
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