Stars secure important win

Free State Stars gave their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Absa Premiership a boost on Wednesday when they defeated University of Pretoria 1-0 at the Charles Mopeli Stadium.

Moeketsi Sekola scored the decisive goal 12 minutes into the second half, handing Ea Lla Koto a result that sees them draw level – temporarily at least – on 24 points with third-from-bottom Polokwane City.

Stars were the more positive team in attack in the first half, pinning the visitors back and creating several good chances from which they could have claimed the lead.

The likes of Moeketsi Sekola, Richard Henyekane, Luyolo Nomandela and Paulus Masehe all had attempts at goal that were no trouble for Tuks goalkeeper Washington Arubi.

However, the Zimbabwean shot-stopper made an excellent save to parry away a 33rd minute effort from Camaldine Abraw that looked destined for the back of the net.

The visitors offered an occasional threat, but they rarely called Ea Lla Koto’s Ayanda Mtshali into action during the first half, which ended with the teams locked at 0-0.

The home side continued to dominate in the second half and finally broke the deadlock on 57 minutes, with a corner kick seeing Sadate Ouro-Akoriko provide an assist for Moeketsi Sekola to beat Arubi with a right-footed shot, 1-0.

Ten minutes later Abraw almost doubled Stars’ lead with a powerful shot on target that forced Arubi into an excellent finger-tip save.

University of Pretoria shuffled their pack by introducing the likes of Raymond Monama and Lucky Mathosi off their bench, and they very nearly forced an equaliser on 78 minutes when Grant Kekana was denied by a diving save from Mtshali.

That was as good as it got in the visitors’ search for an equaliser, allowing Stars to break a four-game winless streak in the league.

Free State Stars (0) 1 (Sekola 57’)

University of Pretoria 0


Free State Stars: Mtshali, Basie, Cardoso, Ouro-Akoriko, Thebakang (Gege 90’), Venter (Mokoena 76’), Sekola, Masehe, Nomandela (Mthethwa 83’), Abraw, Henyekane

University of Pretoria: Arubi, Kekana, Mkhwanazi, Monyai (Mathosi 78’), Sibande, Mosadi (Monama 62’), Shoyisa, Matsi, Ketjijere, Nyondo, Massa (Mnyamane 35’)