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Maritzburg 0-1 Platinum Stars


Mario Booysen (L) and Henrico Botes

Mario Booysen (L) and Henrico Botes

A headed goal from Innocent Mkhabela fired Platinum Stars to a 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday, with both sides finishing the game with only 10 men.


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The Team of Choice enjoyed the lion's share of possession but were unable to make it count, and their cause was not helped by the sending-off of Mohammad Awal on 50 minutes.

It didn't take the visitors long to make their numerical advantage count as Mkhabela headed home just three minutes after the red card.

Stars' Sibusiso Msomi was also handed his marching orders late in the game, but his departure from the field of play had little bearing on the outcome as Dikwena held firm in the final few minutes to claim all the spoils.

The visitors made their intentions known early on as Henrico Botes headed just wide from Luvolwethu Mpeta's inviting cross on six minutes.

At the other end of the pitch, Delron Buckley saw his long-range effort easily collected by goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane in the Platinum Stars' area, one minute later.

However, both sides failed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck after a bright start, with the next chance of the game only materialising in the 28th minute. Platinum Stars' Thabiso Semenya sent in an inviting cross which was met by Botes, who shot wide of the right-hand post from 12 yards.

Maritzburg struck back through efforts from Ruben Cloete and Mohammed Awal, the former's shot from 25 yards skewing wide of the target while the latter's effort from the right-hand channel was calmly saved by Mpontshane.

Both teams had the chance to break the deadlock just before the break, but Maritzburg's Cuthbert Malajila fired over the bar from 20 yards while Dinaledi's Mogakolodi Ngele shot wide of the left-hand post from 12 yards.

The big talking point of the match arrived five minutes into the second period when Awal was handed his marching orders for a foul on Edward Tshabalala.

And Cavin Johnson's men struck just three minutes later to leave the hosts reeling with one man down, and one goal behind. Malokase sent in an inswinging cross and Mkhabela rose well to head in from the centre of the penalty area.

Stars continued to pile on the pressure, Mkhabela seeing his shot from 20 yards saved by Maritzburg gloveman Shu-Aib Walters, while Sibusiso Msomi's 66th-minute shot from 12 yards flew over the bar

Patrick Malokase forced an acrobatic save from Walters on 72 minutes, with the resulting corner kick coming to nothing as Botes was penalised for foul on Walters.

Substitute Philani Zulu fired wide of the target in the 79th minute while team-mate Byron Hendricks headed over the bar from a Frank Gyamfi corner kick on 88 minutes.

Just two minutes later, Msomi was shown his red card for a second bookable offence, but it didn't affect the result as the visitors held on the final few minutes to claim a vital victory.

The result sees Stars remain within five points of leaders Chiefs and two points ahead of Maritzburg.

Posted: 04/12/12 17:14

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