Two goals courtesy of Vusimuzi Mngomezulu and Rodney Ramagalela ensured Polokwane City emerge victorious as they beat Free State Stars 2-1 in the Absa Premiership at Goble Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Rise and Shione now occupy sixth spot with 37 points from 26 league matches and took a huge leap in sealing a spot in the MTN8 Cup competition for the 2017/18 Premier Soccer League campaign.
For Serame Letsoaka’s men, Goodman Dlamini netted their only goal which was not enough to see them bagging a win.
The visitors took the matters to their hosts as early as the first minute and bagged the lead through Mngomezulu when he finished a defence splitting pass beating goalkeeper, Thela Ngobeni.
The Citizens continued to dominate as Jabulani Maluleke attempted to double their lead in the 17th minute through a set piece after Mngomezulu was fouled, but the free kick went just over the crossbar.
Letsoaka’s side improved and almost scored in the 22nd minute as Mohamed Anas nearly scored, but was denied by the unconvincing goalkeeper, George Chigova, who misjudged the ball.
Stars kept searching and Thokozani Sekotlong came very close to drawing Ea Lla Koto level in the 32nd minute when his well drilled set-piece missed the left of Chigova’s post.
Following their continuous knock for an equaliser, Dlamini managed to find it with a powerful header from a distance to catch Chigova out of his line.
However, Ramagalela doubled Rise and Shine’s lead with an impeccable finish in the box beating Thamsanqa Teyise, before unleashing a powerful shot, 2-1 at halftime.
The beginning of the second stanza saw a scramble in the hosts’ box, the ball looked to have crossed the line for the visitors, but the referee didn’t allow it to count as Stars cleared the danger in the 56th minute.
With Bernard Molekwa’s men hunting for their third goal, Ngobeni was equal to the task to deny Mngomezulu his brace from close range.
In the final two minutes, Stars kept City under pressure in an aim to salvage a point, yet Bokang Thlone failed to keep his effort on target as he was set up unmarked in the penalty area.
The defeat leaves Stars sitting at number 14 with 23 points – they have four matches left in the 2016/17 season to save their top-flight status.