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Defender Gift Sithole and striker Ndumiso Mabena scored in each half to hand Stars a win that sees Dikwena reclaim their third position on the Absa Premiership table, where they sit with 47 points. Pirates’ consolation goal was scored by Sifiso Myeni. Before the win on Monday, Stars had not won a match in their last four outings.

Dikwena made the intentions clear from the start. Mabena was afforded space outside the box and he tested keeper Brighton Mhlongo with a shot in the third minute. Mhlongo couldn’t quite handle the ball and Eleazar Rodgers snatched it from him to score but the goal was disallowed as the strikerwas judged to have infringed on the visitors’ keeper. Stars finally managed to break the ice in the 7th minute through an unlikely source in defender Sithole. Tintswalo Tshabalala played a shot pass for Mabena from a corner and the striker swung in a cross that was flicked by Rodgers onto the path of Sithole, who fired a low shot that went past Mhlongo.

Pirates put Stars under pressure in search of an equalizer. Stars held their own with good defending and brilliant goalkeeping by Mbongeni Mzimela keeping the home side in the lead. Mzimela pulled a number of saves. In the 15th minute Pirates came close with Myeni, whose thunderous leftfooted shot was tipped over the bar by Mzimela. Myeni tried again 10 minutes later with a header from Ntsikelelo Nyauza’s cross but Mzimela denied him again.

Pirates dangerman Tendai Ndoro was not given breathing space by centrebacks Sithole and Thabiso Semenya. The visitors did continue to probe for an equalizer. They even tried with long range shots which proved harmless.

In the second half, Pirates came close to scoring with Myeni in the centre of it all. Myeni’s header from Makola’s cross was saved by Mzimela. However it was the home side, who extended their lead in the 50th minute. Mabena started a move that he finished with aplomb when he passed Tshabalala on the left and the midfielder put in a cross that evaded all to find Rodgers. Rodgers pun in a low cross into the box and Mabena produced a nice backheel to find the net. It was Mabena’s ninth goal of the season.

Two minutes later Pirates nearly pulled one back but Mzimela denied them by saving Makola’s goalbound freekick. Stars nearly added a third goal but keeper Mhlongo tipped Mabena’s ferocious shot over the bar after Stars’ good work by Ngambi and Rodgers.

Pirates finally reduced the deficit after a good counterattack that led to the goal scored by Myeni. Substitute Luvuyo Memela started the counter releasing Makola, who put a through ball for Thamsaqa Gabuza. The striker hit a shot but Mzimela blocked it back into play. Then Myeni fired a low shot that deflected off Siyabonga Zulu on its way in.

Pirates would pester Stars for the remainder of the game but Cavin Jonhson’s side fought hard to maintain their lead and win the match.

Posted: 02-05-2016
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