Nomandela steals it for Stars
A late goal deep into injury time by Luyolo Nomandela was enough to earn Free State Stars three valuable home points as they beat rivals Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in the Free State derby at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
As a result of this victory, the Ea Lla Koto overtook Tuks into the top five bracket on the log with 21 points while Celtic remain on 17 points.
After the opening minute effort by Ersterhuizen, there were few notable chances created by both teams to excite the small but lively crowd.
There was finally some goal mouth action in the 26th minute when Jacky Motshegwa forgot the basics of finishing by rushing to blast his close range effort over the cross-bar when composure and picking the spot was the obvious option.
Stars came the closest to opening the scoring in the opening half when Togolese attacker Dove Wome’s free-kick hit the cross-bar four minutes from the break.
Celtic found themselves in a good attacking position through enterprising midfielder Ruzaigh Gamildien on the left flank but he decided to direct his effort straight into the empty hands of Stars’ Mweene.
In the 65th minute, Celtic were nearly punished as they failed to deal with a dipping corne-kick that was taken by Sedate Akoriko.
Just before the hour mark, Ruzaigh Gamildien broke free on the left wing but his left footed effort was too weak to trouble Mweene who was in a good position to collect the ball.
A few minutes later, Gamildien was once again in the thick of things on the attack as he connected with a loose ball outside the box but this time around his well-taken shot could not find the target.
Ten minutes from time, Paulos Masehe watched in disbelief when his close range volley was cleared off the line by an alert Celtic defender for a corner-kick that was wasted.
In the 82nd minute, Celtic substitute striker Lerato Manzini was knocked flat by Stars keeper Mweene, who moved out of his area to deal with the dangerous situation after his defence was beaten a by long ball.
Three minutes from fulltime, Tingyemb had to stretch at full length to deny Wome who unleashed a powerful free-kick from outside the box.
A minute later, it was the turn of Mweene to produce a good save as he was tested by Gamildien.
In the four minutes of additional time, it looked like we were heading for a stalemate, but Nomandela had other ideas with a goal in the dying seconds of the match, 1-0.
Free State Stars (0) 1 (Nomandela 95’)
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 0
Free State Stars: Mweene; Wiltwer, Akoriko, Ersterhuizen (Chivuta 75’), Nomandela; Kerspuy (Mhamha 75’), Masehe, Cardoso, Mkhwanazi, Mvula (Berrian 54’); Wome
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tingyemb; Isaacs, Mzava; Nthethe, Mahoa, Mogorosi (Lakay 90’), Duiker; Motshegwa (Leonard 76’); Nontshinga (Manzini 46’); Gamildien; Bacela