Stars win to avoid relegation

A second half brace from Adam Abdul-Basit inspired Free State Stars to a 3-0 win over Moroka Swallows at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday in their last Absa Premiership match of the season which sees them avoid relegation.

It was an entertaining first 45 with a number of shots on goal by both teams, but both sides lacked direction in their attempts.

The first decent effort on goal came in the 13th minute when Lefa Tsutsulupa left fly from long range, but his shot narrowly wide of the target.

Free State Stars started the game a little slowly, but came alive in the 28th minute when a shot from an acute angle on the right from Sibusiso Mthethwa struck the side netting.

A minute later Richard Henyekane fired a shot goalwards from the edge of the box, but saw his attempt well-saved.

Swallows, however, finished the half the stronger of the two sides with Tshwarelo Bereng have two attempts on goal in a matter of minutes.

In the 35th minute his stinging shot from roughly 20-yards out sailed inches wide. Then, two minutes later, he tried his luck again from distance, but it was well-saved by the keeper.

The half ended 0-0.

The start of the second half saw Stars throwing men forward in search of a goal and the came close in two minutes after the restart when Katlego Mashego saw an effort on goal from just inside the box superbly saved by Greg Etafia.

Etafia had to be at his best again in the 57th minute when he turned a powerful shot from Danny Venter around the post with a fingertip save.

Seven minutes later Henyekane beat a couple of defenders before shooting on goal from just outside the box, but he saw his effort shave the wrong side of the upright.

Then in a matter of five minutes Free State saved their Absa Premiership lives with three goals.

First, in the 72nd minute Adam Abdul-Basit turned home a Venter pass to give the Ea Lla Koto the lead, 1-0.

He then grabbed his brace and doubled his side’s lead a minute later, this time expertly scoring from a Henyekane assist.

The result was put beyond doubt in the 77th minute when Ruben Thebekang pounced on a loose ball after Etafia had initially spilt a Venter shot and he made no mistake from close range, 3-0.

The win sees Stars up to 14th place on the table and out of the relegation/promotion play-off spot after Polokwane lost to SuperSport United.

Swallows finished the season in 13th place.

Moroka Swallow (0) 0

Free State Stars (0) 3 (Abdul-Basit 72’ + 73’, Thebakang 77’)

TEAMS

Swallows: Greg Etafia, Rudi Issacs, Luvhengo Mungomeni, Levy Mokgothu, Ashraf Hendricks, Giorgi Nergadze, Lefa Tsutsulupa, Tshwarelo Bereng (Lerato Chabangu 60’), Edward Manqele, Siyabonga Nomvethe (Darren Lurie 80’), Felix Obada (Dikgang Mabalane 69’)

Free State: Ayanda Mtshali, Ruben Thebekang, Daniel Cardosa, Sibusiso Mthethwa (Kefuwe Sijoko 65’), Moeketsi Sekola, Katlego Mashego, Paulus Masehe, Thabo Moloi (Danny Venter 46’), Richard Henyekane, Muhammed Patel (Adam Abdul-Basit 46’), Themba Shabalala