Free State shared the spoils in a pulsating Premiership fixture with a 2-2 draw against Ajax Cape Town at Athlone Stadium on Friday night.
Stanley Menzo’s side started on the front foot and had the first chance, in the ninth minute, when some good work from Grant Margeman enabled Rodrick Kabwe to get a shot in from 20 yards, but it deflected off a defender and just wide of goal.
A mistake from Jody February, who gave the ball away with a pass from the back, saw Ea Lla Koto taking an 18th-minute lead, after Paulus Masehe won the ball and passed to Mohamed Anas, who fired in a brilliant volley on the turn from the edge of the box.
Kabwe wasted an opportunity five minutes later when he miscued right in front of goal from six yards out, but the Urban Warriors didn’t have to wait long for their equaliser which arrived when Mark Mayambela’s 25-yard effort dipped through the hands of Stars goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni and into the net.
Mayambela looked set to add a second seven minutes before the break when a breathtaking solo run saw him beat a handful of defenders, only for Ngobeni to deny him from close range.
Instead it was Kabwe who notched the Urban Warriors’ next goal, the Zambian scoring in first-half added time with a coolly-taken effort which curled around Ngobeni and in at the near post.
Anas could have leveled matters just after half-time but missed the target with a close-range header.
The second half, it was all Ea Lla Koto before, teenage midfielder Margeman was handed a second yellow card for taking his time while going off to the field to be substituted, which resulted in the Cape club going down to 10 men.
Dlamini nearly took immediate advantage, but was unlucky to see his first-time shot hit the upright.
But the goal was to come soon after, Anas netting his second, from close range 14 minutes from time after February made a hash of trying to save Dlamini’s volley.
Serame Letsoaka’s outfit dominated the closing moments of the game and Ajax had to throw bodies on the line to make sure they didn’t go home empty handed.