Free State Stars get first win

A goal in each half for Free State Stars ensured they went on to claim their first three points of the Absa Premiership by defeating Maritzburg United 2-0 at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday evening.

It was a performance inspired by Danny Venter but, in the end, it was Sadat Ouro-Akoriko and Adam Abdul-Basit who got on the scoresheet for the Ea Lla Koto.

Free State Stars came into the fixture looking for their first win in the league, while Maritzburg United were out to build on their 1-0 win over Polokwane in Week One of the new season.

It was the home side who started off with some positive play when they threatened in the fourth minute. Danny Venter delivered a free-kick into the box which met Themba Tshabalala, but his header went harmlessly wide.

Six minutes later and Venter was in the thick of the action again when he supplied the corner-kick which allowed Sadat Ouro-Akoriko to open the scoring for the hosts, 1-0.

Michael Morton was then flashed a yellow card for his rash challenge on Katlego Mashego halfway through the first half. While Venter threatened again with his accurate corner, but the Maritzburg goalkeeper, Shu-Aib Walters, held onto it with ease.

The tireless Team of Choice midfielder then struck an effort from range, but it went wide of the goal in the 34th minute, before Venter cracked a whip on the other end of the field.

Ernst Middendorp knew things had to be changed and he brought on Delron Buckley after the restart in place of Reece Evans for more power in the middle of the park.

Free State Stars continued to peg back the visitors from KwaZulu-Natal, and their dominance got the better of Maritzburg. The score was extended to 2-0, when Adam Abdul-Basit slotted the ball into the back of the net in the 66th minute.

With ten minutes remaining, the goalscorer 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 for Moeketsi Sekola.

Free State Stars held on to claim the 2-0 win, but for Maritzburg there is still plenty more work to be done as it is two losses out of two.

Free State Stars: (1) 2 (Ouro-Akoriko 11’, Abdul-Basit 66’)

Maritzburg United: (0) 0

Teams:

Free State Stars: Agyei, Ouro-Akoriko, Masehe, Tshabalala (Mthethwa 70’), Thebakang, Nomandela, Mashego, Kerspuy, Camaldine, Venter, Abdul-Basit (Sekola 81’)

Maritzburg United: Walters, Awal, Booysen M, Johannes, Morton (Mkhize 59’), De Jongh, Cloete, Evans (Buckley 46’), Sheppard (Mandaza 73’), Smeekes, Yakubu