Free State Stars narrowly beat the Nedbank team select XI 2-1 during a tough Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge at Makhulong Stadium on Sunday.
The blow by blow match was belonged to the young PSL hopefuls but FS Stars opened the scoring with an easy chip from Yusuf Jappie, after careless defending from the Ke Yona team captain Nkanyiso Nene of KwaZulu-Natal. But within a minute after the opening goal, Ke Yona's right wing Lunathi Mdatyulwa from Hout Bay brought the youngsters’ spirits back into the game when he managed to swerve past the Stars defence and found the back of the net with a good shot ater the Stars’ goalkeeper Samnkelo Mbambo's attempt to save the ball was too late.
With only 10 minutes on the clock the score was 1-1.
The Nedbank Cup champions were seemingly puzzled by the technical abilities the young boys possessed as they struggled to penetrate the young lads' turf, forcing the likes of Nyiko Mobbie to try their luck outside the box.
The Ke Yona team was looking more threatening to the PSL team – they just needed to be more clinical. In the 39th minute Stars were dealt another blow when their midfielder Judas Moseamedi scored a header past Mogotsi who received a nice diagonal ball from Jappie, but match official Cedric Movhali ruled he was offside.
After the break, FS Stars were looking early on to prove their worth, but the young lads were keeping them at bay, clearing every ball in the box through their captain Nene.
The youngest player in the Ke Yona team, Lwazi Mgwaba from Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal, was unlucky when he received a good pass from Cameron Paulse from Cape Town, but he couldn't finish as Mbambo was quickly able to save.
Throughout the game Stars midfielder Sinethemba Jantjie was unlucky as he had more than six attempts to score but he was also guilty of trying to do everything himself.
Mdantsane's own Asivile Tom, who replaced Mgwaba, has a chance to score with his first touch but the Stars defence was eyeing him, and secured the ball before he could worm his way into their box.
The Ke Yona Boys had three corner kicks that could have won the match but the experience of the Ea lla Koto prevailed – because in the 70th minute substitute Eleazar Rodgers who replaced Judas, scored from inside the box, allowing the champions to finally take the 2-1 lead.
That was not a good welcome for Dimbaza's Camagu Kanana who replaced Ke Yona goalkeeper Magotsi.