Cape Town - Free State Stars picked up an important away point in a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night.
The first half was an evenly contested affair and while it was Bakgaga on the up at the start of the second half, Ea Lla Koto came close to snatching all three points late on.
The away side started on the attack with Eleazar Rodgers putting pressure on Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze from an early corner before Onkabetse Makgantai lobbed his shot just wide after connecting to a neat ball over the top from Matome Mabeba.
Goodman Dlamini showed good feet inside the Baroka box to get a shot away that flew just past the right upright, as he connected to a flick on from Rodgers.
Mduduzi Mdatsane was then off target as he shot from range while Rooi Mahamutsa and Sifiso Mbhele combined well to clear a free-kick from the left from Collins Makgaka.
Mpho Kgaswane looked to attack down the left flank with pace but wasn't able to produce an end product under pressure from Mbhele.
Badra Ali Sangare soon after produced an excellent save low to his left from a good shot from the left from Ranga Chivaviro while Makgantai was just wide with a diving header on 28 minutes. The Baroka man was following up a header back across goal from Kgaswane that was kept out by Sangare under pressure from Chivaviro.
Linda Bhengu then stormed forward but fired wide of the right upright as Kgaswane fired well wide from distance.
Judas Moseamedi came on for Mbhele at half time in an enforced change as a result of an injury, and Rodgers was close to breaking the deadlock soon after the break with a header that was deflected to safety.
Chivaviro shot over on the turn from the edge of the Stars 18-yard area before Paulus Masehe saw his long-range effort sale over Chipezeze. Makgantai couldn’t convert after being played in by Mdatsane as Mdatsane wriggled free but saw his low shot well saved by Sangare.
A great tackle from Tshepho Tema stopped Makgaka from getting a shot away on 72 minutes while Jemondre Dickens came close to a debut goal with a header that came off the crossbar.
Stars upped the ante as the game drew to a close, with Moseamedi close to connecting to a long ball forward, before Paulus Masehe fired just off target for the last real chance of this Absa Premiership encounter.