PLATINUM Stars booked a place in the final of the Telkom Knockout when they defeated Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in a semifinal encounter at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
Thabiso Semenya scored the only goal of the match as Dikwena booked an appointment with Orlando Pirates next month in the final, a team they defeated earlier this season in the MTN8 final.
Chiefs were the first to threaten on the night when left-back Keegan Ritchie went on a good run and found himself in the last third of the field. From an acute angle on the left side, just eight yards out from goal, the former Moroka Swallows man forced Stars’ keeper into a vital save.
The ball was recycled by Ritchie and found Bernard Parker on the edge of the box, but the striker’s effort was straight in the hands of a well-positioned Siyabonga Mpontshane in the 14th minute.
Stars were inches from taking the lead in the 27th minute. A good free kick delivery was sent into the box and found the head of Henrico Botes who from close directed his header on target, but Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune produced a brilliant save he caught the ball with momentum pushing him backwards.
Ten minutes before the halftime break, Chiefs should have opened their account. Lehlohonolo Majoro found Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who had acres of space on the right side but the midfielder shot straight at Mpontshane.
Eight minutes later Chiefs were agonisingly denied by the crossbar. Stuart Baxter’s men won a free kick just outside the box. Parker was in range as he lined it up, he perfectly picked his spot, and a static Mpontshane was flummoxed as the ball dipped and hit the crossbar.
Seven minutes into the second half Dikwena took the lead. It was their sixth corner of the match and they made it count when Chiefs failed to clear their lines and Semenya snuck in a foot and directed the ball underneath the legs of Ritchie and the arms of a desperate Khune.
Baxter brought on Knowledge Musona midway through the second half and the Zimbabwean striker had an opportunity to equalise in the 79th minute when he brilliantly chest trapped the ball as he passed through the Stars defence, but his shot went wide of goal.
It was not to be for Chiefs as Dikwena booked a place in the final against Pirates on 7 December at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Semenya 52’)
Teams: Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Gaxa, Gould, Mashamaite, Ritchie, Katsande, Letsholonyane (Mathoho 90+2’), Tshabalala, Lebese (Nkhatha 84’), Parker, Majoro (Musona 65’)
Platinum Stars: Mpontshane, Semenya, Gumede, Mhlongo, Mpeta, Sarr, Ng’ambi (Msomi 89’), Mathe, Tshabalala (Ngwepe 73’), Mbatha, Botes.-Backpage TXT