Free State Stars fell to a 1-0 loss against champions Mamelodi Sundowns in their Premiership clash at the James Motlatsi Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After a scrappy first-half looked set to end goalless, Motjeka Madisha opened the scoring in the third minute of first-half stoppage time.
This proved to be the only goal of the game as Mamelodi Sundowns moved four points behind league leaders Cape Town City.
At this stage of the season, coach Serame Letsoaka knew results is all that mattered within the run-in, and his side were set up accordingly .
Ea Lla Koto showed their physical strengths, nullifying the attacking flair of the Brazilians for most of the encounter.
Despite marking Percy Tau out the game at every opportunity, the Brazilians star playmaker Khama Billiat managed to create a couple of half-chances, but found goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni in fine form.
But with literally the last kick of the first-half, Masandawana youth product Madisha scored his first senior goal for the Champions of Africa with a deft touch on the volley, after losing his marker and slotting home Billiat’s corner delivery.
This proved to be the only goal of the game in a frustrating afternoon for Mosimane’s side, with Ea Lla Koto captain Paulus Masehe going two-to-two with Billiat in the second half.
The veteran midfielder showed his tireless work-ethic in midfield to deny the Zimbabwe international any real space to open up Serame Letsoaka’s defence.
The result sees Stars hover one point above the drop zone, ahead of Baroka and Highlands Park – with six games remaining in the campaign.