Match report: BidVest Wits vs Free State Stars - Absa Premiership
Posted: 17 December 2016 Time: 19:01
Phakamani Mahlambi started for the first time in 10 months and celebrated with a brace of goals as Bidvest Wits beat Free State Stars 3-1 in an Absa Premiership clash on Saturday night.
Wits coach Gavin Hunt included young starlet Mahlambi in his starting line-up for the first time since February after he returned from a serious knee injury.
And he bagged a brace of goals to go with Gabadinho Mhango's opener, while Thokozani Sekotlong scored a wonder-goal for the visitors.
After a slow start to the game, Wits took the lead on 14 minutes and it was a disappointing moment for Stars keeper Thela Ngobeni.
Mhango turned and shot towards goal, and though Ngobeni got a hand to the ball, it snuck into the net as the ball escaped his grasp.
Mhango had the chance to make it 2-0 when he found himself one-on-one with Ngobeni, but his chip over the keeper landed on the roof of the net.
Wits did double their advantage when Mahlambi was fouled in the box and the younster picked himself up to slot home the penalty and open his account for the season on his return to the side.
Stars pulled one back with a moment of magic from Sekotlong as he picked up the ball 40 yards from goal and glided through the Wits defence before finishing expertly past Darren Keet in the home goal.
But Mahlambi made it 3-1 when he showed quick reactions to pounce on the loose ball as Ngobeni got a hand to Thulani Hlatshwayo's goalbound header.
Mahlambi lasted for 69 minutes, but after taking a blow to his knee - not the one that kept him out for 10 months - was replaced by Cuthbert Malajila.
The night went from bad to worse for Stars when skipper Angelo Kerspuy picked up a second yellow card for his second second off in under a month.
Stars were thrown a lifeline though when Hlanti fouled Makhehlene Makhaula in the box, but Keet made a fine stop from Moeketsi Sekola to finally dash the hopes of the visitors.
HOME: Bidvest Wits
Coach: Gavin Hunt
AWAY: Free State Stars
Coach: Giovanni Solinas