Stage is set for Stars

2013-10-07 00:00

FREE State Stars advanced to the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout when they defeated AmaZulu 2-0 at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.

Danny Venter and Abdul Basit Adam scored the goals for the home side in the second half, while the visitors were unable to make use of their opportunities.

The home side came close to opening the scoring in the third minute when Camaldine Abraw nudged the ball past the approaching Tapuwa Kapini, but Tamsanqa Teyise covered his captain with a good clearance before the ball crossed the line.

Abraw continued to cause problems for the visitors and in the ninth minute he found Danny Venter unmarked in the centre of the box. However, the winger slipped before his goalbound shot was deflected wide of goal.

Moments later, Basit Adam had another opportunity to hand his side the lead when he met a low cross at the near post, but the Ghanaian striker volleyed over the bar from a few yards out.

The visitors started to push forward more during the second part of the first stanza, but Marc van Heerden saw his teasing cross headed away in the 21st minute before firing over the crossbar nine minutes later.

Steve Komphela’s side almost broke the deadlock in the 45th minute when Abraw was given space to shoot outside the box, but Kapini made a good block to keep his effort out.

Stars were handed a chance to take the lead four minutes after the break when Larry Horaeb slipped just outside the box. Reuben Thebakang raced into the area, but his shot was blocked by Carlington Nyadombo.

Kapini then pulled off two superb saves to keep his side in the game, diving low to his right in the 52nd minute to push Katlego Mashego’s shot wide and denying the same player a minute later.

The opening goal arrived in the 63rd minute when Venter controlled the ball on the edge of the area and fired a left-footed shot past Kapini.

The visitors had numerous opportunities to equalise, Teyise sending his header wide in the 69th minute and Goodman Dlamini’s shot dipping inches over the crossbar four minutes later.

In the 79th minute, Ayanda Dlamini ran onto Van Heerden’s cross, but the ball came off his chest and dipped over the crossbar. A minute later, Bongani Ndulula’s header went wide of goal.

Stars goalkeeper Daniel Agyei made his first real save of the match in the 83rd minute, diving low to his right to block a solid strike from substitute Sthembiso Ngcobo. The hosts doubled their lead three minutes later through another well-taken goal from Adam.

Usuthu had two more opportunities to pull one goal back, but Goodman Dlamini fired wide in the first minute of added time, while Ngcobo was denied by a brilliant tackle from Soriola Gege three minutes later.

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