Kaizer Chiefs claimed the honours in a hard fought clash at Goble Park on Tuesday night that ended 2-0 in favour of the visitors.
After a evenly balanced start to the game, Chiefs netted twice within nine minutes midway through the first half.
Free State Stars made all the running in the second half, but were unable to break down a resolute Chiefs defence.
Both teams had early chances in the game, with Judas Moseamedi heading just wide from a Yusuf Jappie cross, before Chiefs defender Mario Booysen mistimed a headed effort on 14 minutes.
Amakhosi took the lead though as Khama Billiat’s through pass enabled Gustavo Paez to chip the ball over the onrushing Badra Ali Sangare and into the goal, despite a touch from the goalkeeper.
Stars looked to hit back with a number of threatening attacks, but it was Amakhosi who added to their tally in the 34th minute when Hendrick Ekstein squared the ball for Philani Zulu, whose first touch teed up a well-struck half volley in at the near post.
Ea Lla Koto looked to get back into the game after half-time, but Goodman Dlamini’s 69th minute shot from a tight angle flew into the side-netting.
Three minutes later skipper Paulus Masehe’s came within inches of a goal with a pile-driver that whistled past the post.
Eleazar Rodgers had another great chance eight minutes from time but saw his well-struck shot fire just over the bar for the last chance of the night.