Free State Stars were extremely unfortunate to drop points at Goble Park Stadium, when they lost 3-2 against Black Aces after a dominating performance
The tide was relentless in the opening half as Free State Stars took the game to Black Aces. Ea Lla Koto enjoyed 60% of the ball possession in the first half, as they continually kept Aces on the back foot while looking to penetrate their defense.
In the fourth minute Aces keeper Bafana Nhlapo was called into action early on when he had to react quickly to clear a dangerous through ball. A minute later AmaZayoni caught Stars sleeping at the back, when attacker Themba Zwane made a fantastic run from the left to leave him with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he was unable to slip it past Ayanda Mtshali.
Five minutes later Stars Danny Venter tested Nhlapo from long range, his 35 yard strike however did not trouble the shot stopper as the shot went wide. Shortly after, it was Richard Henyekane who was called into action, the former Sundowns attacker’s 30 yard set piece was tipped over the crossbar by Nhlapo.
The Qwaqwa based side’s best opportunity came in the 19th minute, after Venter had received a pin point cross from Luyolo Nomandela into the 18 yard area. Nhlapo was once again outstanding in the poles when he denied Venter from a tight angle, pushing his shot against the post and quickly recovered to collect the loose ball.
Clive Barker’s side were chasing the game for the most part of the opening half and grew frustrated. The match turned physical and referee Daniel Bennett was forced to dish out a couple of yellow cards to maintain control of the match. Stars went all out in search of the opening goal, utilizing their wing play with crosses into the area. Also shuffling their approach at times by going route one to keep the Aces defense guessing.
Stars ended off the first half strongly with a total of nine shots at goal compared to the three shots by Aces.
Ea Lla Koto finally broke the deadlock immediately after the restart when Moeketsi Sekola took matters into his own hands. The attacker carried the ball from the restart before hitting a superb 25 yard strike into the top right corner, giving Nhlapo no chance.
Free State Stars joy was short lived, as Aces leveled matters eight minutes later when Miquel Timm tapped in from close range. Stars continued to dictate the game and created countless goalscoring opportunities.
In the 56th minute sensational Aces goalkeeper Nhlapo once more rescued his side when he pushed a long range effort against the woodwork, and a minute later Henyekane’s effort was cleared off the line.
With 20 minutes left in the match, Aces captain Eddie Ngalo broke the hearts of the Ea Lla Koto fans when he put the ball into the back of the net after some poor marking during a corner. Ofentse Nato initially brought the ball down from the corner and headed it into the direction of Ngalo who easily tucked the ball away.