Stars stun SuperSport
Posted: 17 January 2009 Time: 17:49
Free State Stars have blown the Absa Premiership title race wide open with an emphatic 4-1 victory over defending champions SuperSport United at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.
Coupled with Ajax Cape Town's 2-0 defeat at Maritzburg United, the result gives the chasing pack a chance to make up ground on the front two.
There was a lot of talk before the match by Ea Lla Koto's coach Steve Komphela regarding the lack of pace in the United defense and how he would expose that with the speed of his front men.
Coach Komphela did not have to wait long see his criticism of Supersport proved correct when Sthembiso Ngcobo beat Ricardo Katza down the inside right channel in the 16th minute. Ngcobo's speed allowed him to easily slip past United's captain before he produced a powerful shot that Denis Onyango palmed around the corner at the near post.
Two minutes later and Ngcobo should have opened the scoring when he battle his way into the box and looked certain to score, from ten yards out, with only Onyango to beat, but the Matsatsantsa keeper produced a fine save diving full stretch to his left to deny the Stars striker.
Ngcobo, however, didn't make the same mistake twice when a long ball from the back caught the United defense square and the pace of the striker put him through on goal. With Onyango backpedalling Ngcobo let fly from 20 yards out and saw his shot sail over the head of the keeper and into the corner of the net, 1-0.
Free State dominated the majority of the first half while United's defense looked extremely vulnerable at the back as their lack of pace cost them time after time.
In fact Supersport's first attempt on goal only came in the 31st minute when Anthony Laffor headed a left wing cross narrowly over the crossbar.
In the 42nd minute Ngcobo dound himself with another opportunity to score when a cross from the left found him unmarked inside the box. With absolutely no pressure on him and only six yards out Ngcobo should have done a lot better, but he failed to even hit the target.
Despite the poor defence of Supersport, Free State's goal Keeper, Kennedy Mweene made the games biggest blunder three minutes into extra time of the first 45 when he fumbled a routine long range shot, spilling the ball into the path of Laffor. Form only two yards out Laffor scored the easiest goal of his football career, 1-1.
Ea Lla Koto started the second half at a furious pace and once again the speed of their strikers proved too difficult for the United defense to handle as they regained the lead immediately after the restart. Ngcobo grabbed his second goal of the game after a quick one-two put him through on goal and with a clinical finish doubled his sides lead, 2-1.
Stars striker Tebelo Mofokeng should have wrapped matters up four minutes later when he broke the off-side trap and only had Onyango to beat, but the United keeper proved his worth once more as he provided superb save to deny Mofokeng.
Supersport's frustration was evident and it was begging to grow as they failed to break down the stubborn Free State defense. Matters got even worse for Gavin hunt's men when Siyabonga Mdluli scored Ea Lla Koto's third goal in the 74th minute. A long ball from Mweene was headed onto Mduli who let loose with a ferocious strike from the left corner of the six-yard box that snuck inside the near post, 3-1.
Mofokeng sealed matters and confirmed the three points were going to Free State when he scored his side's fourth goal in the 85th minute. This time the pace of Mduli was too much for the United defence when he broke down the left flank and produced an inch perfect cross to find Mofokeng inside the box. Mofokeng finished expertly heading the ball into the bottom left hand corner, 4-1.
Courtesy of Backpagepix