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Football | Absa Premiership

Henrico Botes and Mario Booysen © Backpagepix

Dikwena keep up great form

Platinum Stars have kept their excellent form going with a 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday night.

Enocent Mkhabela scored the only goal of the game shortly after halftime, while both sides finished the match with 10 men.

It was a deserved win for Dikwena, who move up to third in the table by leap-frogging United.

Veterans Vuyo Mere and Benson Mhlongo had both played every minute of the season for Stars ahead of this match, but both were missing for this game, the former through suspension and the other injury.

It meant Thabiso Semenya came back into the side at right-back, while Mkhabela dropped back to central defence alongside Thabiso Gumede.

Maritzburg were without the injured Orlando Smeekes, but otherwise were able to welcome back Delron Buckley from suspension.

Henrico Botes headed wide for Stars in the first real chance of the game, as he steered Luvolwethu Mpeta past the post.

Buckley tried his luck from 35-yards but succeeded in only warming the palms of Siyabonga Mpontshane in the visitors’ goal.

Mohammed Awal was next to test Mpontshane, but the keeper was up to the task once again, while Cuthbert Malajila shot over the bar when well placed.

The game turned in a two-minute spell early on in the second half. First the Ghanaian Awal was sent-off for a crude challenge on Stars’ Tintswalo Tshabalala.

And to add insult to injury for the home side, Dikwena took the lead barely two minutes later as Mkhabela headed home from a Patrick Malokase corner.

By now the visitors were well on top. Mkhabela forced a save from Shu-Aib Walters in the home goal, while Sibusiso Msomi shot over the bar. Walters then made an excellent stop to deny Malokase a goal 20 minutes from time.

The visitors were left with some nervy moments towards the end when Msomi received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, but were able to hold on for a seventh win in eight Absa Premiership games.

Next up for Maritzburg is a trip to Cape Town to face Ajax on Friday, while Stars are at home to Lamontville Golden Arrows a day later.

Maritzburg 0

Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Mkhabela 52’)

Maritzburg: Walters, Matuka, Awal, M Booysen, Cloete, Hendricks, Morton, Yende (Zulu 78’), Buckley, Mandaza (Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi 46’), Malajila

Stars: Mpontshane, Semenya, Mkhabela, Gumede, Mpeta, Tshabalala, Msomi, Mathe, Ngele (Mbatha 65’), Malokase (Ng’ambi 73’), Botes (S Mthembu 80’)


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