Lechesa hat-trick stuns Thanda
Posted: 14 December 2008 Time: 18:05
A hat-trick from midfielder Duncan Lechesa handed Free State Stars a 3-2 victory over Thanda Royal Zulu in an entertaining Absa Premiership match at the Mpumalanga Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Ea Lla Koto hero scored twice from the penalty spot and once in open play right at the end of regulation time to hand his team a remarkable comeback win after goals from Clement Mazibuko and Felix Obada had put the hosts two goals to the good. The victory is Stars' first in the Premiership since early October, a run of seven games.
Thanda made most of the early running, and were rewarded with a goal in the 17th minute. Mazibuko turned home Obada's cross with a well-taken header from close range to put Amabhubesi into a 1-0 lead.
Obada, the provider for the home team's opening goal, then took on the mantle of scorer just past the half hour mark. The Nigerian latched onto July Mahlangu's pass and fired a shot past Kennedy Mweene to put his team two goals up.
However, Stars hit back with two goals – both from penalty kicks – in quick succession at the end of the first half to send the game into the break poised at 2-2.
First, in the 43rd, Lechesa converted from the spot to halve the deficit after Siyabonga Mfeka had committed a foul in the area. Then the veteran levelled the game on the stroke of half time in a similar manner after Musa Nyatama had brought down Thamane Motaung.
The game continued to be evenly matched in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but in the 66th Thanda's Sibusiso Hadebe was shown a red card for a professional foul on Jonathan Mensah.
Hadebe's dismissal handed Ea Lla Koto the initiative, as Thanda looked to tighten up and hold on for the point.
Instead Lechesa completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute, scoring from close range after latching onto a pass from Ruben Cloete to seal a remarkable personal performance and wrap up a terrific comeback from Stars.
Courtesy of backpagepix