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FREE STATE STARS 0
0 GOLDEN ARROWS
Competition: Absa Premiership
Date: Saturday, 13 September 2008
Venue: Welkom Rugby Stadium
Free State Stars’ slow start to the 2008/09 Absa Premiership season continued at the Welkom Rugby Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as they were held to a goalless draw by visitors Golden Arrows.
Two weeks after falling to a 1-0 defeat away to defending league champions SuperSport United, Ea Lla Koto would have hoped that home advantage could help them to collect three points. Instead they found Abafana Bes’thende to be stern opponents who will go back to KwaZulu-Natal satisfied at having shared the spoils.
The hard-fought clash between two evenly-matched sides never really came to life, though both sides were guilty of spurning good scoring chances that would have changed the course of the game.
Paulos Masehe should have put the hosts into a lead midway through the first half but he lost his composure at the key moment, lobbing the ball over the crossbar as goalkeeper Brenden Wardle came off his line.
Masehe had earlier sent a stunning long-range effort just wide of the visitors’ goals, while the determination of Jimmy Kauleza down the right flank almost created a chance for Diyo Sibisi, though the burly striker couldn’t capitalise on Musa Bilankulu’s miss-kick in his own six-yard box.
Arrows’ best chance of the first half fell to Richard Henyekane in the 35th minute, but the attacker missed his kick after Abia Nale had put him into a good scoring position.
Stars’ Matome Madimabe almost broke the deadlock three minutes before half time with a well-struck drive that looked destined for the bottom corner of Arrows’ net, but Wardle kept it out with a fine save low to his right.
Philani Shange soon threatened to trouble Stars ‘keeper Kennedy Mweene at the other end, but the excellent Jonathan Mensah blocked his goal-bound shot, leaving the game goalless at the break.
Mensah showed that his game has more to it than merely keeping attacks at bay when he sent a swirling 35-metre shot inches over the crossbar 10 minutes after the restart.
Nale should have put Arrows ahead in the 67th minute when he burst past two defenders after picking up a clever pass from Henyekane, but the dreadlocked forward was unable to beat Mweene from close range and Mensah reacted well to clear away the rebound.
It proved to be the last clear scoring opportunity of the match, though the home side breathed a sigh of relief when Kagisho Dikgacoi’s 25-metre screamer in injury time flashed past Mweene’s right hand upright.
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