Kaizer Chiefs defeated Free State Stars 1-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at Goble Park Stadium on Wednesday thanks to a last-gasp goal from defender Teenage Hadebe.
The victory sees the Amakhosi move up to third place on the log and keep up their slim hopes of challenging the leading duo of Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates for the league title.
Chiefs enjoyed a bright start to the match and nearly claimed the lead as early as the fifth minute, as a fine passing move created space for Hendrick Ekstein to get away a shot but he sent his effort wide of the target.
On seven minutes a blunder at the back from Chiefs was almost very costly, but luckily for the visitors Daniel Cardoso was able to clean up and spare the blushes of Itumeleng Khune before Siphelele Mthembi could capitalise.
In the 13th minute Stars again threatened in attack, as they opened up space for veteran hardman Paulus Masehe to fire an effort on goal, but Khune got across to the tip the shot over the crossbar for a corner kick.
Ten minutes later Ea Lla Koto came close to an opener again, with winger Sinethemba Jantjie dribbling through midfield before getting away a shot from just outside the box, but the effort flashed wide of Khune’s posts.
The remainder of the first half saw the Amakhosi reassert some control after weathering a storm from the hosts – and they even had a couple of half-openings for the likes of Ryan Moon – but the score remained goalless up to the interval.
Stars created the first chance of the second half a couple of minutes after the restart, as former Chiefs man Mthembu was played in goal, but he only succeeded in hitting the side when he should have put the hosts in front.
It was soon Chiefs’ turn to get on the front foot, as both Leonardo Castro and Ekstein had goal-bound efforts well saved by Stars goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare, but it seemed they would be frustrated.
However, deep in injury time, a Siphiwe Tshabalala free kick found the head of Teenage Hadebe, who steered a brilliant effort beyond the reach of the ‘keeper to win the game 1-0 and claim all three points on offer.
Free State Stars: 0
Kaizer Chiefs : 1
Stars: Sangare, Mobbie, Keita, Mahamutsam Phungwayo, Dlamini (Potsane 79’), Masehe, Vilakazi, Jantjie, Tchilimbou, Mthembu
Chiefs: Khune, Cardoso, Mathoho, Hadebe, Mphahlele (Jayiya 82’), Katsande, Ekstein, Zulu (Zuma 68’), Tshabalala, Moon (Parker 59’), Castro