Ea Lla Koto have found it tough going so far, losing 4-1 to SuperSport United in their opening League fixture, before going down 3-0 to Platinum Stars in the MTN8.
Sadate Ouro-Akoriko drew first blood for the hosts in the 11th minute, before their lead was extended by Adam Abdul-Basit midway through the second half, but Stars were inspired by a great performance from Danny Venter.
Stars got the game underway with some creative play, when Venter’s fourth minute free-kick was met by Themba Shabalala inside the box, but his header went harmlessly wide.
Ea Lla Koto grabbed the lead shortly after, however, when Ouro-Akoriko struck home from Venter’s corner-kick in the 11th minute.
Midway through the first half, the physical battles started to come to the fore and Michael Morton was booked for a challenge on Katlego Mashego.
Soon after, Venter forced a save out of Maritzburg goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters.
Ernst Middendorp knew things had to be changed and he brought on Delron Buckley at the restart, in place of Reece Evans, for more power in the middle of the park.
Free State Stars’ dominance continued to get the better of Maritzburg and it in the 66th minute their lead was doubled when Abdul-Basit slotted a low ball into the back of Walters’ net.
With 10 minutes remaining, Abdul-Basit tried to add a second to his name but his effort flew narrowly wide of the goal. It proved to be his last touch of the ball as he was then substituted by Moeketsi Sekelo.
Stars held on to their two-goal lead, inflicting a second defeat in as many games on Middendorp’s men.