Result: Maritzburg United 2-3 Free State Stars
Date: 22 September 2015
Venue: Harry Gwala Stadium
A late Robert Sankara strike handed Free State Stars a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Maritzburg United after a well contested Absa Premiership match at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
Both sides had a rather conservative approach in the opening few minutes as they looked to settle and control the nerves. After the ten-minute mark, the teams began to look more comfortable on the ball and Danny Venter had a headed effort go wide before Kurt Lentjies also had a 17th minute header of his own just miss the target.
A few minutes later it was Mrisho Ngasa’s turn to test Virgil Vries in the 23rd minute, but the Namibian shot-stopper comfortably saved. The visitors had a slight upper hand by the looks of things and Robert Sankara had a free-kick effort go narrowly wide a few moments later.
Maritzburg United were finding it difficult to keep up with the Free State outfit, but managed to go the half unharmed as the half-time whistle blew with the teams deadlocked at 0-0.
The hosts had a better start to the second stanza as Evans Rusike had the first chance at goal, the Zimbabweans header going over the crossbar. It was, however, the visitors that would grab the lead in the 62nd minute, courtesy of a Danny Venter strike, 1-0.
The Team of Choice responded almost immediately as Themba Tshabalala conceded a penalty in the 65th minute, which Lentjies converted to draw the sides level at 1-1.
Ea Lla Koto continued to look threatening in the second half, and were growing in confidence despite conceding. The visitors would get awarded a penalty of their own in the 79th minute, and Andrea Fileccia converted a powerful effort to put Stars in the lead, 2-1.
United were struggling to gain control of the encounter and looked as though they were headed for defeat, but Mohammed Anas scored an equalizer in the 89th minute to level matters once again at 2-2.
Just when everyone thought the drama was all over, Robert Sankara stepped up in stoppage time to slot in the winner, ensuring Free State Stars walk away with maximum points after the 3-2 victory.