Komphela hails substitutes
The choice of substitutes made the difference which led to Free State Stars 2-1 extra-time win over Orlando Pirates, said Stars' coach Steve Komphela.
Stars booked their place in the competition's quarterfinal stage, dumping the title holders out of the knockout competition at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
Komphela took off Edward Manqele, who scored in the 70th minute of the match, and the Qwaqwa outfit were left facing additional time without an obvious goal-scorer.
"The introduction of Noah Chivuta, I knew, would give them lots of problems," Komphela said.
"A good strike, a great comeback and I thought having come so far and losing, it's not a bad performance.
"So I thought the best thing to do was to go for a risk."
Stars pushed forward for much of extra-time while the hosts sat back opting to catch the visitors on the counter-attack.
"All the players on the field, after having run so much, their legs were starting to give," Komphela said.
He was particularly pleased with the winning goal that came from a set-piece.
"A good corner kick from him [Chivuta] and a beautiful header from [Paulus] Masehe, who I thought did a tremendous job."
Before the winner in the 124th minute, Stars had let a lead slip with what proved to be the last kick of regular time.
Pirates' Dane Klaite rocketed a free-kick to equalise, where it seemed to suggest that the Buccaneers would have the momentum as the game progressed.
"When they scored their goal in the last minute I couldn't believe it," said the Stars' boss.
"As soon as the free kick occurred, I thought there's no way they will leave this one and they executed very well.
"They put up a hell of a good fight. It wasn't easy and there were stages where I had to give in and accept whatever happens will happen."
With Stars lying fifth in the premiership standings, Komphela hoped other teams would take notice of his unheralded side.
"Most people might think we're a small team from the mountains, but the amount of work we do is immense," Komphela said.
"We take every game as it comes, but this gives us a lot of confidence that we can compete in this league."
Elsewhere, Thamsanqa Sangweni struck in the first half to give AmaZulu a 1-0 victory over Witbank Spurs in Durban.