PLATINUM Stars eased their early season worries by thumping big-spending Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in a slow-paced Absa Premiership clash at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace last night.
It was the first time that Stars had scored more than one goal in a league match this season. The two goals brings their tally for the league to seven in 12 games.
The win also eases the pressure on under-fire Stars coach Steve Komphela.
Second half goals from Tshepo Ramokala and substitute Alton Meiring were enough to give Stars their best win of the season and condemn the Brazilians to their fourth loss in 12 fixtures.
Low in confidence
Both sides struggled to get out of first gear in a dull, unimaginative first 45 minutes in which neither goalkeeper - Downs' Brian Baloyi nor Stars' Tapuwa Kapini - was tested.
Stars, who looked low on confidence, seemed like they were struggling to stay afloat during a dull first half. It was also easy to see why they had netted only five goals in 11 matches before the clash.
Edwards Williams was wide of the Brazilians' woodwork in the sixth minute as Stars went on the attack early in the game.
Downs' Matty Pattison was wide with a 20m free kick that troubled no one in the 15th minute. A minute later Stars' problems in front of goal were underlined when Joseph Malangoane miskicked and missed the target from inside the Brazilians' penalty area.
Then Stars striker Luis Renteria was put through and with a sight at goal the Colombian blasted his shot over the crossbar.
And midfielder Ramokala wasted a chance two minutes from the break when he was in a good position to shoot but opted to pass to Renteria in an offside position.
But Ramokala made amends in the 65th minute when he scored a classic goal to give Stars a 1-0 lead. He caught the Downs' suspect defence sleeping and did brilliantly to lob the ball over the advancing Baloyi and into the net.
Two minutes earlier Baloyi had done well to fist away a dangerous Ramokala corner. But the veteran keeper was at fault for the second goal.
Meiring took advantage of poor defending and a bad mistake from Baloyi in the 74th minute when Downs left back Siyanda Xulu could not handle the pressure Meiring put him under.
Baloyi failed to deal with the loose ball and Meiring did well to blast home the rebound to make it 2-0. - Sapa