Tshabalala sinks Maritzburg late on

Dikwena scored all three goals, with Tintswalo Tshabalala netting a last-gasp winner after Issa Sarr's own goal cancelled out Man of the Match Henrico Botes' 16th minute opener at Harry Gwala Stadium.

The result leaves Stars on 16 points from 10 matches - a point behind Mamelodi Sundowns, who boast two games in hand.

The Team of Choice are seventh in the standings with 12 points.

Stars were quick out of the blocks and created the better early chances in the match. They had an opportunity to go one up in the eighth minute when Mogakolodi Ngele fended off a couple of United markers in their box and crossed for teammate Robert Ng’ambi who was perfectly positioned and unmarked from close, but blasted his effort over the target.

Ngele threated yet again in the 12th minute when he collected the ball in midfield and let rip a thunderous long-range shot which just flew over.

The minimal home crowd were stunned four minutes later when Allan Freese’s outfit drew first blood. Philani Zulu lost the ball in the middle of the park which resulted in Dikwena swiftly moving it upfront and it landed in the path of experienced striker Botes who made no mistake inside the box as he drove the ball home.

United forward Terrance Mandaza could have levelled in the 30th minute when he skilfully lost Stars centre-half Tshepo Gumede, but with only the keeper to beat the Zimbabwean hit the side netting.

The visitors’ inspirational captain Vuyo Mere had to exit the match a minute before half time when he suffered a leg injury that looked serious.

Just under the hour-mark, the home side found a somewhat lucky equaliser. Stars midfielder Sarr headed into the wrong net from a corner kick as he was trying to clear the ball.

That goal seemed to spark United into life as they created a couple of clear-cut chances late in the match, but it was Stars that woulld have the last say.

Botes lobbed the ball over the United defence and Tshabalala was the first to get there as he scored from close range in the 90th minute.