Wits consolidate top spot with Stars win

It took Free State Stars just 45 seconds to get their 2019 off to a perfect start. Sifiso Mbhele played a well-worked one-two before delivering a pinpoint cross to the back post for Harris Tchilimbou to head home.

Ea Lla Koto almost had their second soon afterwards but Darren Keet thwarted Stars winger Yussuf Jappie when he was clean through on goal.

Indeed, Stars had the log-leaders rattled in the opening exchanges. The change in coach seemed to have Stars playing with greater expression and creative freedom.

However, Gavin Hunt's side soon began to find their feet and had a chance through Edwin Gyimah, but his effort sailed wide of goal.

Jappie, who was proving himself to be a constant menace to the Wits' defence, came close again with his long-range effort rattling the post.

Wits were back in it on the half-hour mark. Patrick Phungwayo lunged in recklessly on Elias Pelembe and conceded a free-kick just to Wits' right-hand side of the box. Deon Hotto's delivery was headed home by Terrence Dzvukamanja for the equalizer.

Wits continued to pile on the pressure after the interval with Buhle Mkhwanazi coming close on 48 minutes.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt brought on Simon Murray for Lehlonolo Majoro. The substitution almost immediately paid dividends as it was Murray who crossed for Pelembe to score with the diving header in the 73rd minute.

New Stars coach Nikola Kavazovic responded by throwing the dice one last time with a double substitution - bringing Linda Bhengu and Eleazar Rodgers on. But it would come to nothing as Wits ended the game as they started it - top of the table.


Stars: Sangare,  Mbhele, Mahamutsa, Mahamutsa, Tema, Phungwayo, Jappie, Makhaula, Masehe, Dlamini, Tchilimbou, Mokhuoane.

Subs: Maruping, Rodgers, Hlubi, Bhengu, Mbuli, Mbambo, Khabane.

Wits: Keet, Mere, Mkhwanazi, Johannes, Nonyane, Gyimah, Alexander, Dzvukamanja, Hotto, Pelembe, Majoro.

Subs: Goss, Weidlich, Domingo,  Mhango,. Claasen, Motupa, Murray.