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Loftus Versveld Stadium
19/12/2007 19:30

Stars defeat dismal Downs

Posted: 19 December 2007 Time: 22:07

Platinum Stars began life under new coach Miguel Gamondi in fine fashion as they defeated a dismal Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in an Absa Premiership encounter at Loftus Stadium on Wednesday night.

Gamondi got one over the man who took his job at The Brazilians almost two years ago, Gordon Igesund, who must now be in serious danger of the axe at Chloorkop as his side languish in 12th in the table with just three wins from 14 games.

There was plenty of cut and thrust in the opening minutes, but few clear-cut chances. Koketso Mmotong had a shout for a penalty when Michael Manzini appeared to haul him down in the Sundowns area on 12 minutes, but the contact was minimal and the referee waved play-on.

Lerato Chabangu let fly on 22 minutes from all of 30 yards, but the Stars goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini got behind the ball to thwart Sundowns’ first shot on target.

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Two minutes later Carelse was denied by a point-blank save from Kapini as he glanced a header from Chabangu’s free-kick goalwards.

But Stars took the lead on 31 minutes when Edward Williams’ cross-cum-shot flew over Calvin Marlin and into the net. Whether he meant it or not, only he will know.

Sundowns tried to respond but looked anything but championship material in the remainder of the first half as they were restricted to long-range efforts that were hopelessly off-target.

The one chance that did come their way fell to Benson Mhlongo at the back post, but his volley from a flick-on went across goal instead of towards it.

Sundowns had the first chance of the second half when George Mofokeng‘s backpass was too tame and Chabangu latched onto the ball, rounded the keeper, but could not direct his shot on goal from a tight angle.

Mofokeng almost sneaked one at the other end as he used his considerable height to rise above the defenders from a long throw, but his goal-bound effort was saved by Marlin.

The giant defender was in the thick of things and was lucky not to receive a second yellow card with 25 minutes remaining when he clattered into substitute Shakes Ngwenya when the ball had long gone.

Just two minutes later Surprise Moriri was denied by the crossbar when his thunderous free-kick from 35-yards was touched onto the woodwork by Kapini, and Dladla saw his shot deflected wide as panic set into the Stars defence.

Sundowns’ problems increased on 78 minutes though, when Mbulelo Mabizela’s foolish lunge on Mmotong led to his second yellow card of the evening and an early shower, leaving his teammates to battle on with 10 men.

The home side piled the pressure on their visitors in the closing stages as Stars played the dangerous game of sitting back on their lead, despite the numerical advantage.

And Ndlovu – the form striker at Downs in recent weeks – should have equalised when he headed wide from six yards when he should at least have hit the target.

But Stars went up the other end and substitute Joseph Mkalipa ended the game as a contest when he found space on the lefthand side of the box and unleashed a powerful shot that gave Marlin no chance in the home goal.

Ndlovu made up for his earlier miss when his header did find the target as the gap was closed to one with a minute left on the clock.

But the boos from the home support that greeted the goal scored by their own side spoke volumes for the mood of Downs fans, who seem to have lost faith in Igesund and his technical team.

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