BAY Stars proved to be the kings of soccer in Nelson Mandela Bay region after they maintained their unbeaten record when they defeated their arch-rivals Highbury 3-1 in a Safa Eastern Cape Second Division League at the NMMU Second Avenue campus sports field yesterday.
Stars taught their neighbours Highbury the same lesson they gave them in the Nedbank Cup tournament when they eliminated them 3-1 in the group stages last month.
Logleaders Stars started the game at a high pace and they were rewarded with an opening goal, 32 minutes into the first half, scored by their leading goal-scorer Farouk Abrahams.
The atmosphere at the venue was electrifying as the game was considered to be a Mandela Bay derby, with the supporters cheering on their respective teams.
Both teams played well in the first half, with Highbury seeking an equaliser before the halftime break.
The combination of Stars’ midfielders and strikers often attacked Highbury’s defence, but they stood up to the task.
The Highbury goals came under pressure for much of the game, but their defence unit always came to the rescue, clearing away some strong shots from the Stars’ players.
Stars went into the break with the advantage and they came back in the second half determined to score more goals.
Midfielder Leroy van Rensburg doubled the score from a set-piece just outside the penalty area of Highbury.
Highbury had some brilliant scoring chances in the second half but they were unable to convert them into goals.
Van Rensburg then made it 3-0 to Bay Stars.
Highbury eventually opened their scoring when they were awarded a penalty after one of their players was fouled inside the Stars area to make the final tally 3-1.
Stars technical director Mark Tommy said Highbury battled to compete with them, especially in Port Elizabeth, and said the match was a typical derby.
“We are just too strong and good for them because we’ve made it clear from the start of the new season that our objective is to win the league this year.
“Stars’ players played positive football and created a lot of scoring chances and it shows that they stuck to the coach’s instructions.”
He said their aim was to go into the Christmas break unbeaten in the league, which would give them a positive base when they resume next year.
Stars are on top of the semi-professional provincial league with 20 points after eight games, winning six and drawing two, while Highbury are third from the bottom with two points from seven games, losing five and drawing two.