Platinum Stars stun Chiefs

Thabiso Semenya (Gallo)
Thabiso Semenya (Gallo)

Johannesburg - A second half Thabiso Semenya effort booked Platinum Stars' place in the final of the Telkom Knockout, beating Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-final at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

Semenya looked as surprised as the Amakhosi defence, who made a meal of their clearance in the 52nd minute, ensuring a meeting with Orlando Pirates in the final, after the Buccaneers edged SuperSport United earlier in the day.

Both teams looked bright from the outset, but Chiefs enjoyed the better chances, as Keegan Ritchie and Bernard Parker both asked questions of the Stars defence, but neither could find the opener.

The home side had little difficulty going forward and regularly found space in front of Stars midfield, and continued to threaten through Parker and Reneilwe Letsholonyane as the clock approached the half-hour mark.

Letsholonyane forced a solid stop from Dikwena goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane 10 minutes from the interval, when an enterprising play from the hosts sent the playmaker through on goal.

But Letsholonyane drilled his effort straight at the shot-stopper, who fisted the effort well away, thwarting the Bafana Bafana midfielder, who will feel that he could have done better.

Five minutes later, Stars had the best chance of the half when an advancing Luvolwethu Mpeta's dipping effort needed a superb stop from Chiefs gloveman Itumeleng Khune, who tipped the shot over the crossbar and out of danger.

Chiefs replied through Parker, who rattled the crossbar from a free-kick just outside the area.

Parker stepped up after Stars brought down a Chiefs player, with the striker beating the goalkeeper and seemingly sent the hosts ahead, but was denied by the post shortly before the half-time whistle.

After the break, Chiefs were once again through on goal, this time through George Lebese, but Stars held firm, soaked up the pressure and before long, took the lead through substitute fullback Semenya - who started in place of regular skipper Vuyo Mere.

A dangerous corner whipped into the area was poorly dealt with from Chiefs' defence and Semenya was able to get a miscued effort away at goal.

Khune failed to pick up on the loose ball, while Richie could not hack the clearance away, as the ball trickled into the net to send the Rustenburg outfit into the last quarter-of-an-hour with the advantage.

Stars held on and ran out worthy winners, setting up a repeat of the MTN8 final, where Stars beat the Sea Robbers to lift the prestigious top eight trophy earlier this year.

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