Free State & Tycoons draw

Ea Lla Koto and the Tycoons both created enough chances to win the game but a combination of poor finishing and some good goalkeeping, particularly from the visitors’ Wayne Sandilands, ensured that neither side was able to break the deadlock in 90 hard-fought minutes of football.

The dangerous Sthembiso Ngcobo showed some early signs of his ability when an 18-yard shot went just wide of goal in the second minute of the match.

On the 15 minute mark Free State Stars, who had started the brighter of the two teams, forced Sandilands into a good save, with the goalkeeper doing well to parry Tebello Mofokeng’s drive away to safety.

Two minutes later it was the visitors’ turn to try their hand at goal, and former Orlando Pirates striker Phumudzo Manenzhe should have made more of a headed chance, but the flamboyant Kennedy Mweene made a good save to keep is team on par on with the Tycoons.

Just before the half hour mark Ngcobo tried his luck from just under 30 metres out – Sandilands had the ball covered but it drifted off target anyway, and the ‘keeper was pleased that his defence was restricting the Ea Lla Koto attackers to long range attempts.

Sandilands was called upon to make an excellent save in the 34th minute, tipping Matome Madimabe’s free kick round the post after Michael Khaile had fouled the Free State midfielder some 30 metres from goal.

Platinum Stars made two substitutions mere minutes before half time, with Lefa Mogaila replacing the injured Oscar Ntwagae and Henrico Botes taking Bradley Grobler’s place in the front line.

The Tycoons almost found a break through just after the changes had been made but Joseph Mkalipa’s low shot failed to find the target, while Botes’ first involvement was a powerful long range effort parried away by Mweene.

Ten minutes after the second half Mweene was again equal to whatever Botes could throw at him, catching the Namibian striker’s shot, while Free State Stars’ Mofokeng fired a shot over the crossbar just a few seconds later.

On 61 minutes Sandilands again came up trumps for his team, making a great save to deny Siyabonga Mdluli’s direct shot from a set piece and then making another terrific stop from the resulting corner kick, when Sipho Nkosi should have put the hosts into a lead.

The Tycoons created the next opportunity in the 73rd minute, but Edward Williams’ shot was mere catching practice for Mweene, before Mofokeng somehow contrived to head over at the other end when gifted a good chance to break the deadlock.

Mdluli and Manenzhe had chances for their respective teams in the final few minutes but the game predictably ended in a goalless draw.

The result sees both teams remain in their respective positions on the log, temporarily at least. Free State are 11th with 30 points, while Platinum are 12th with 27 points, though they have played a game less than their counterparts.