Free State Stars beat rivals Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Saturday afternoon.
Harris Tchilimbou and Sinethemba Jantjie found the back of the net for the hosts in the Woza Nazo showdown, to move Ea Lla Koto up to seventh place on the log standings. Siwelele, who’s winless run now extends to three matches, remain in fourth.
The game got off to a rather cagey start with nothing to write home about in the opening exchanges.
Tchilimbou’s tame effort was straight at Patrick Tignyemb in the 16th minute before Phunya Sele Sele squandered a glorious chance to hit the front three minutes later with their first shot in anger.
Badra Ali Sangaré’s clearance fell favourable at Tshegofatso Mabasa feet, but with the goal at his mercy, the forward could only succeed in firing his shot wide – to the Stars shot-stopper’s relief.
Ea Lla Koto ramped up the pressure in the closing minutes of the half and deservedly opened the scoring in the 38th minute. Nyiko Mobbie burst down the right flank before delivering a pin-point cross into the area which Tchilimbou converted with aplomb.
Provider almost turned scorer three minutes later as Mobbie unleashed a rocket from range, but Tignyemb was on hand to deny the hosts a second before the break.
Celtic looked a better team following the interval and went close to pulling level in the 54th minute, but Sangaré pulled off a good save to keep out Menzi Masuku’s effort from an acute angle.
Lorenzo Gordinho was then unlucky to see his header attempt from a free-kick fly narrowly wide, as Celtic continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides.
But, the visitors were made to rue their missed chances as Jantjie doubled Stars lead against the run of play. The attacker with an exquisite curling finish from the edge of the area to send the home fans into delirium.
Mpho Maruping hit the woodwork for Stars in the 74th minute as they aimed to put the game beyond any reasonable doubt, but the miss mattered little as the hosts claimed – in the end – a comfortable win.
Free State Stars 2
Tchilimbou 38′ Jantjie 58′
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Free State Stars: Sangare, Maruping (Masina 88′), Tema, Mobbie, Mahamutsa, Phungwayo, Makhaula, Tchilimbou, Jantjie (Jappie 67′), Dlamini, Bhengu (Moseamedi 80′).
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Sam, Pfumbidzai, De Jongh, Mabena, Mashikinya, Masuku (Motshegwa 71′), Gordinho, Dlamini (Letsoalo 62′), Phalane, Mabasa (Potsane 50′).