Stars win five-goal thriller
Posted: 14 January 2009 Time: 21:41
A late penalty from Jabu Mahlangu handed Platinum Stars a 3-2 win over AmaZulu in an engrossing Absa Premiership match at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Wednesday evening.
The Tycoons appeared to have thrown away a two goal lead for the second successive match (they allowed Bloemfontein Celtic to draw 2-2 on Saturday) when goals from Marc van Heerden and Brad Ritson cancelled out strikes from Henrico Botes and Bradley Grobler, but a late spot kick from Mahlangu handed Miguel Gamondi's team their first home win since early November 2008.
Stars got off to a flying start when Botes opened the scoring in the fourth minute, shooting past Kakonje Kalililo from close range after Joseph Mkalipa's corner kick. They could have doubled the lead less than 120 seconds later when a header from Grobler was tipped round his post by the AmaZulu goalkeeper.
Tshepo Ramokala and Mahlangu both tried their luck from long range within the first 15 minutes, but nether was able to hit the target and add to the Tycoons' advantage.
Instead it was Grobler who doubled the hosts' lead in the 17th minute. The youngster grabbed his third goal in as many Absa Premiership games with a right footed shot from the centre of the 18-yard area.
Usuthu had to wait until nearly the 30 minute mark before they had their first effort at goal, as Dumisani Ngwenya fired a shot wide from 20 yards out. The lanky striker had another effort from range a couple of minutes later, but to no better effect as it failed to hit the target.
Ritson had the visitors' first effort on target in the 44th minute, though it was nothing more than catching practice for 'keeper Tapuwa Kapini, but his team would have been three goals down had Grobler capitalised on a chance five minutes earlier.
Early in the second half Usuthu were thrown a lifeline when Mkalipa fouled Nhlanhla Zwane in the box and the referee awarded the visitors a penalty. Left-back Marc van Heerden duly scored from the spot to halve the deficit, though his night was soon over when he was replaced by Litha Ngxabi.
Stars took the positive approach of trying to restore their two-goal lead, with all of Grobler, Mahlangu, Godfrey Sapula and Lefa Mogaila attempting to find the back of the net, but it was AmaZulu who scored next, bringing themselves level at 2-2.
Ngwenya crossed for Riston in the 69th minute, and the striker headed home from six yards out to put Usuhtu right back in contention for the three points on offer, and the momentum was certainly in favour of the KwaZulu-Natal team.
However it was Stars who soon wrestled back the initiative, with Kalililo forced to tip Stanley Kgatla's goal-bound header away for a corner kick in the 77th, before Mkalipa hit the woodwork with a right-footed shot less than a minute later.
Stars finally broke through when Pere Ariwriyai was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box and Mahlangu was given the chance to put his side back in the lead with a spot kick. The former Kaizer Chiefs star, who is seeking to rebuild his career after falling off the rails, converted the penalty for his second goal in as many games for his new club.
Courtesy of Backpagepix