Free State Stars were unable to capitalise on Cape Town City’s recent slump in form after succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at Athlone Stadium on Wednesday.
Benni McCarthy’s side edged proceedings in the early stages of the encounter in Athlone, but they struggled to break down a resolute visiting defence and appeared to be heading for a third game without a win.
But Taariq Fielies made the breakthrough five minutes from time to snatch all three points, which lifted his team up to third in the standings, two points off the summit.
The goal had coach Luc Eyamel questioning the officiating of the Premiership referees and after the game, he threatened to quit South African football.
Ea Lla Koto came into the clash on the back of a four-game unbeaten run in the league, which included three straight wins, but they showed steel against the Citizens.
The hosts had little joy in the first half as they were rebuffed time and time again by Eymael’s men.
McCarthy was forced to change things just before the break when Victor Obinna limped off with an injury in the 40th minute, with Judas Moseamedi coming on in his place.
City continued to plug away after the restart, but Stars keeper Badra Ali Sangare remained untroubled as the second half wore on.
Just when it seemed that the spoils would be shared, Fielies popped up in the 85th minute to convert a late winner for the Mother City outfit and secure victory.
But the Eymael is convinced the goal should not have stood; “If there was no foul on the keeper there‚ then I know nothing in football.
“It’s two games in a row that there is a bad decision against us‚ that’s not normal. I’m very disappointed about that‚ I don’t want to use words that I will perhaps regret‚ but I don’t think these things are fair.
“What I am saying about the goal is not an excuse‚ it’s a fact. I am always analysing things with honesty and with fair play.”