Stars keep hopes alive

Mthetho Ndoni

BAY Stars maintained their winning streak when they beat Cloud Nine 1-0 in an SA Football Association Eastern Cape Second Division match at the Ginsberg Stadium in King William’s Town on Saturday.

Port Elizabeth side Stars scored the game’s only goal through a shot by Niven Kopps in the 80th minute.

Stars kept alive their hopes of dethroning logleaders Mthatha Bucks from the top spot in their league championship quest.

Stars coach Urban de Kock said it had been a tough match and they had been expecting to register a goal before the break.

“My team fought with passion and it was stressful to miss scoring chances in the opening minutes of the first half, but I’m happy with the team’s performance. We’ve got the maximum points and that’s what is important and we want to put pressure on Bucks at the top.”

He said that with only two league games remaining this season, the team could not afford to lose any match at this stage.

“Our objective is to win the league title this season and the players showed determination to deliver on what has been assigned to them. We are hungry for the top spot because that’s our ticket to the national First Division promotion playoff.”

Second-placed Stars are trailing Bucks by four points, with both teams having played 24 games. As things stand now, Bucks are on course to win the title if they win their two remaining matches.

Another Port Elizabeth side campaigning in the Safa Eastern Cape Second Division league, Highbury, were hammered 3-0 by Bucks at the Rotary Stadium in Mthatha on Saturday.

The home side scored all their three goals in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Highbury’s hopes of securing a spot in the top eight bracket were dashed when they gave away maximum points to the Mthatha outfit but they still remain in ninth position.

Highbury coach Garth Dickinson said his troops showed character on the field and stood their ground even though they lost.

“We were punished because of the mistakes [we made] and the game is water under the bridge now, so we’ll have to focus on our next match.

“We lacked concentration in the first half but we came back strongly in the second, dominating the most part of it.”

Dickinson said the team had numerous scoring chances but the players lacked finishing skills. He said the team played well because the margin could have been bigger.

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