Stars into final eight

Danny Venter (Gallo Images)
Danny Venter (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein - Free State Stars advanced to the quarterfinals 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 goal line.
Abraw continued to cause problems for the visitors and in the nine minutes he found Danny Venter unmarked in the centre of the box, but the winger slipped before his goalbound shot was deflected wide of goal.
Then 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 21dt minutes, before firing over the crossbar nine minutes later.
Steve Komphela 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 volleyed effort out.
Ea Lla Koto 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 box 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 in the 52nd minute, before 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 took one step in before firing a left-footed shot past Kapini.
The visitors had numerous opportunities to equalise, but Teyise sent his header wide in the 69th minute, while Goodman Dlamini saw his 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 before Bongani Ndulula header wide of the upright a minute later.
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 then doubled their lead three minutes later through another well-taken goal from Adam, who beat Kapini with a dipping volley from outside the box.
Usuthu had two more opportunities to pull one goal back, but Goodman Dlaminifired wide in the first minute of added time, while Ngcobo was denied by a brilliant tackle from Soriola Gege three minutes later as Stars held on for a 2-0 win.
Free State Stars (0) 2 (Venter 63’, Adam 86’)
AmaZulu 0
Free State Stars: Agyei, Ouro-Akoriko , Gege, Thebakang, Venter, Masehe, Wiltwer, Mashego, Mthethwa, Abdul-Basit (Nomandela 86’), Abraw (Mkhatshwa 90 +4’).
AmaZulu: Kapini, Horaeb (Mwedihanga 55’), Nyadombo, Teyise, Van Heerden, Dlamini A, Madondo, Dlamini G, Mthiyane (Ngcobo 75’), Manqana, Ndulula
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