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Football | Absa Premiership

Henrico Botes © Backpagepix

Dikwena up to third after Leopards win



Platinum Stars have moved up to third in the Absa Premiership table with a fine 1-0 away win at Black Leopards on Wednesday night.

The match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane was settled by a lone Henrico Botes goal just seven minutes in, before the players were forced from the field after a violent hail storm.

But the game was able to resume and Dikwena recorded their fourth straight victory to move into the top three and leave Leopards languishing near the foot of the table after new coach Ian Palmer’s first game in charge.

Indeed, Stars came into the game having taken 10 points from their previous four games, better than any other side in the PSL. Coach Cavin Johnson went with his tried and trusted, selecting striker Botes over youngster Thabani Mthembu.

New Leopards coach Palmer also stuck to the settled line-up that had seen the club draw six of their previous eight matches in all competitions.

Stars started the brighter and were ahead inside seven minutes. Vuyo Mere’s cross was converted by Botes, his second of the season.

There followed shots at either end from Mahlatse Maake for Leopards and Mogakolodi Ngele for Stars, but both efforts drifted wide.

A ferocious hail storm sent the players scuttling from the field just past the half-hour mark and will have instilled a sense of déjà vu in Lidoda Duvha, who have already had one match abandoned this season due to hail against Kaizer Chiefs.

It was touch and go whether the play would be able to resume, but mercifully the weather lifted and they were able to get back on the park.

Soon after the restart of play, Mongezi Bobe crashed a free-kick against the crossbar as Stars rode their luck a little up to halftime.

The second period was devoid of clear-cut chances, Raymond Monama forced a fine save from Siyabonga Mpontshane and Stars were able to comfortably see out the game and proudly take their place in the top three.

Both sides now look forward to weekend matches. Black Leopards face a difficult away day in Cape Town against Ajax on Sunday, while Stars return to the Royal Bafokeng Stadium to face Bidvest Wits on Saturday afternoon.

Black Leopards 0
Platinum Stars (1) 1 (Botes 7’)

Leopards: Omony, Dzaga, Sithole, Nyirenda, Kwena (Kwena 68’), Mabunda, Maake (Sangweni 46’), Ramagalela (Manaka 77’), Bobe, Monama, Nkambule

Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mhlongo, Ngwepe, Phala, Tshabalala (Mathe 80’), Msomi, Botes (Malokase 90’), Ngele (Ng’ambi 64’)

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