Free State Stars succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of title chasing Kaizer Chiefs on their Premiership return at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Chiefs were two goals ahead within the opening half-hour, after goals from former Ea Lla Koto winger Siphiwe Tshabalala and veteran forward Bernard Parker – which proved to too much of a deficit to overturn for Serame Letsoaka’s men.
The second-half produced a goal for each side, with Willard Katsande and Rooi Mahamutsa scoring goals of supreme quality.
A game of quality strikes
As early as the 13th minute Tshabalala got the scoring underway with a sweetly struck free-kick from 25-yards out leaving Thela Ngobeni with no chance.
Clearly under pressure after being beaten by the thumping effort from ‘Shabba’, Ngobeni was unlucky to bring Edmore Chirambadare down inches inside the area – in an attempt to stop his marauding run to the byline.
Bernard Parker was entrusted with the subsequent spot-kick and the former Chiefs keeper nearly made amends for his error when he saved the effort – but the South Africa international had the composure to find the top corner of the net with the rebound.
After the break, former Zimbabwe captain Willard Katsande added a third for the Soweto giants, after showing some neat footwork in the area to ghost past two defenders – he cooly slotted home past the onrushing Ngobeni into the bottom right corner.
Letsoaka’s men did however grab a consolation when former Orlando Pirates defender Rooi Mahamutsa fired a low free-kick under the wall and past a stranded Itumeleng Khune.