Maritzburg Thump High-Flying Stars
Absa Premiership Report: Free State Stars v Maritzburg United 20 January 2018
Result: Free State Stars 0-3 Maritzburg United
Date: 20 January 2018
Venue: Goble Park
Maritzburg United returned to winning ways in the Absa Premiership with an impressive 3-0 win over high-flying Free State Stars.
Fadlu Davids was forced into an early substitution, as Bevan Fransman got a knock on his face in the sixth minute, following a clash of heads and had to be replaced by Rushine De Reuck.
Ea Lla Koto looked more settled into the game after 16 minutes, but they were not committing enough men forward as Siphelele Mthembu was easily crowded off the ball by the United defence.
In the 31st minute, Evans Rusike went clear on goal, but Nyiko Mobbie made a great recovery to make a clean-tackle from behind and avert the danger.
The tempo of the match slowed down going into the halftime break as the heat seemed to have been a factor.
Andrea Fileccia broke the deadlock in the first minute of the second stanza, with a low left footed strike into the bottom right corner, 0-1.
Rusike doubled United's lead two minutes before the hour with a clinical finish, after being gifted space to take a strike just outside the box, 0-2.
Stars pressurised the visitors in the last third with 20 minutes to go, but Davids' troops were resolute at the back.
Rusike nearly killed off the match 10 minutes before time, with a well struck low shot from long range, but Ali Sangare made a good stop at the bottom corner.
Bandile Shandu also had a chance moments later at point-blank range but Sangare pulled off another crucial save.
Shandu made amends four minutes from time, after going clear on the left side of the box to make it 3-0 to United, with a left footed strike at the near post.
It was game, set and match for United who halted Stars' four-match winning run in a convincing manner.
Here's how they lined up:
Stars: 23. Sangare, 5. Masehe, 2. Mobbie, 22. Keita, 20. Mashego, 6. Teyise, 4. Makhaula, 27. Tchilimbou, 13. Maphakisa, 11. Jantjie, 21. Mthembu.
Maritzburg: 31. Ofori, 3. Sanoka, 2. Onyango, 16. Fransman, 25. Xulu, 13. Makaringe, 15. Maboe, 29. Mekoa, 8. Ndlovu, 19. Rusike , 9. Fillecia.