Team squander clear-cut chances
RISING Stars, keen to recover from a disastrous 3-0 soccer defeat by Birmingham in their previous game in East London, went down again by 1-2 to Zebras United in Breidbach last weekend.
The Safa Buffalo City SAB League encounter was played in front of a packed ground, which saw the home side not living up to expectations.
Rising Stars squandered clear-cut chances, to the frustration of their loyal supporters.
Playing in their first game after the festive break, the Zebras outfit took play to their opponents from the onset and forced them not to play to their game-plan.
Goals for the visitors came from the boot of Zanele Mde and Simamkela Singqota, while Bevelin Willard came off the bench to score for Stars.
The first half ended goalless after both teams failed to score from opportunities created.
Zebras displayed some great character after they played through the Stars midfielder to their right winger Mde, who beat his opponent, carried the ball into the box and shot to find the back of the net for the opener after 12 minutes of the second half.
Stars coach Brian Hendricks brought on Willard to strengthen his arsenal and midfielder, tricky “Peter Crouch-looking” Cheslin Smith, and the move seemed to be working in their favour as more goal-scoring chances came their way.
The visitors never gave up the fight and were rewarded accordingly, as their second goal by Singqota came after a defensive blunder which allowed him to calmly shoot after a one-on-one situation with Stars’ goalie Raylin Bramwell.
Bramwell was put to the test two minutes later after Mde capitalised on another Stars defensive blunder and shot, but found the goalkeeper equal to the challenge.
Amid cheers from the fans, Stars attacked and found their opponents at sixes and sevens at the back, but missed some easy chances when their strikers’ efforts went way off target.
Smith dribbled his way through the midfield, went right, crossed the ball into the box and found Willard, whose shot was denied.
On his second attempt, he tapped the ball home for their only goal.
Another chance to level matters came Willard’s way but the ace striker’s shot was off target.
An elated Zebras manager, Sidwell Mde was proud of his charges and commended the match officials for the professional way they handled the game.
“It was only our first game for this year, and truly speaking, I’ve never expected to leave Breidbach with maximum points. Credit to the team on a job well done.”
Hendricks said Rising Stars needed time and confidence.
“My boys just need to believe they can do it. For 20 minutes in the second half we were on top of them.”