Platinum Stars win at last
Posted: 17 October 2009 Time: 18:20
Platinum Stars eased their early-season relegation woes with a 1-0 win over 10-man Free State Stars in the Absa Premiership at Goble Park on Saturday.
Having lost their previous five League matches, the victory comes as welcome relief for coach Steve Komphela and his charges, who had to rely on a late Norikazu Murakami penalty after Martin Carelse was penalised for hand-ball.
Free State controlled the midfield battle from the outset on a water-logged pitch, as the Tycoons were virtually non-existent in attack and were forced to defend for the majority of the game. Mamadimo Masenya was the rock in the defence for Platinum Stars, holding his team together at the back under a barrage of attack.
Ea Lla Koto’s first attempt on goal came as early as the eighth minute when Tshegofatso Mashego let fly from just outside the 18-yard box. His shot was definitely goal-ward bound after beating the keeper, but Masenya was there to throw his body on the line to deny Mashego the game’s opening goal.
Ayanda Gcaba also came close to breaking the dead-lock three minutes later when he met a left wing cross, but his header was superbly saved by Tapiwa Kapini, tipping the effort around the post.
Thereafter the game continued to be fast and furious with tackles flying in from every direction. It was only a matter of time before a couple of names found their way into the referee’s book. And with Free State constantly pushing forward it was inevitable that a Tycoons player would get booked.
Consequently there were four yellow cards and one red in the first half. Ironically enough, however, after three separate Platinum Stars players were booked it was an Ea Lla Koto player, in Mashego, who was dismissed from the field of play shortly before the half time whistle.
After being reduced to ten men Free State were more than happy to get into the change room in order to regroup.
In the second half, despite being a man down, Ea Lla Koto were still the better side playing the better football. But just like the first half, their finishing was terrible and in the 86th minute they were made to pay when Norikazu Murakami put the Tycoons in front from the penalty spot, 1-0.
That was the blow that cracked Ea Lla Koto’s heart and clinched the three points for Platinum Stars.