Free State Stars recorded their second victory of the season when they narrowly beat Maritzburg United 1-0 in a nail-biting PSL encounter at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.
Stars striker Edward Manqele made his presence felt in the match with less than a minute on the clock, going for an overhead kick from the edge of the 18-yard area but his shot was too tame to bother goalkeeper Richard Ofori who collected it comfortably.
The home side slowly started taking control of the match and had their first shot towards goal when Richard Makaringe unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards out but the ball went wide off Badra Ali Sangare's goal.
Sinethemba Jantjie had half a chance to open the scoring for the visitors after receiving a flick from Manqele but the ball went out for a goal kick.
Manqele was again in the thick of things a few minutes later when a corner from Patrick Phungwayo found him unmarked in the box, however there was not enough power behind the ball with Ofori easily saving his header.
On the far side of the field, the Team of Choice received a corner kick which forced Sangare to punch the ball away from danger.
In the 24th minute Ea Lla Koto were awarded a freekick on the edge of the box. Jantjie stepped up but his effort landed safely in Ofori's hands.
The home team were then awarded a set-piece on the edge of the box after Evans Rusike tumbled to the ground after being brought down. The Zimbabwean marksman took the responsibility, though his shot went out for a corner kick with Sangare caught flat-footed.
Former Ea Lla Koto frontman Andrea Fillecia had the best chance of the game to put the home side in front when a looped ball found him behind the Stars defenders on the far side however the Stars goalkeeper was in a good position to punch his shot away.
Stars turned possession around and caused a threat for Maritzburg when Phungwayo's long ball over the home side's defence caught them ball watching but the situation was well-read by Ofori who quickly came off his line to clear the ball away into play.
Despite efforts from both sides with enticing end-to-end football, the teams went into the changeroom deadlocked at 0-0.
The second half saw the home team try and stamp their authority earlier on when Yazid Atouba took on the Stars defenders before laying a pass into Fillecia's path, but the Belgian was flagged offside.
Mohammed Anas almost added to his tally of two goals he scored so far this season. The bulky striker got himself into a great position inside the box and took a low shot towards Ofori's goal but the Stars man failed to replicate what he did against Polokwane City as the ball went inches wide.
Fadlu Davids made his first substitution on the 60th minute mark with Fillecia making way for Devon Saal. The left footed attacker took the game by the scruff of the neck bringing the likes of Deolin Mekoa into attack.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 73rd minute when Maritzburg failed to clear their lines. Anas pounced on a loose ball which he beautifully laid off for Jantjie who made no mistake with a well executed left footed shot into the top left corner, giving Ofori no chance.
Stars were unlucky not to go 2-0 up when Anas again put Jantjie through on goal. His shot beat Ofori but hit the upright. The follow up shot from Tebogo Potsane hit the same upright and out for a goal kick.
Anas proved too much for the Maritzburg defence as he found himself through in good goalscoring positions. The Togolese international pulled the trigger only for Ofori to come up with a great save.
The home side pushed forward in the late stages of the match in the hope of leveling matters but Luc Eymael's charges stood their ground to claim maximum points away from home.