AFRICAN Stars maintained a seven-point lead in the Debmarine Premiership, despite dropping two points in a goalless draw against Tigers on Sunday.
On Saturday they turned on the style to beat Orlando Pirates 3-1 at a packed Unam Stadium, but on Sunday, an impressive Tigers held them to a goalless draw – the first time in nine matches that Stars did not take full points.
In Saturday’s match, Stars dominated from the start and took an early lead when Dynamo Fredericks put away a cross by Immanuel Heita with a first time shot.
Willy Stephanus put Stars 2-0 ahead with a great shot from the edge of the box and by the 25th minute it was 3-0 when Edmund Kambanda rose high to head home from a corner.
There was little constructive play in the second half when it started raining heavily, but Pirates pulled back a late consolation goal by Veno Tjikundi.
On Sunday, Stars faced an inspired Tigers side who gave as good as they got as the two sides battled it out to a goalless draw.
Tigers had a great chance midway through the first half when Tangeni Shipahu was put clear, but Stars’ young goalie Mervin Kasetura brought off a point blank save.
Shane van Wyk and Moses Shidolo also created chances for Tigers, while at the other end, several Stars attacks broke down due to a lack of communication.
Stars came back strongly after the break when Willy Stephanus sent in some good crosses from the wing, but Tigers continued to create chances with Kleopas Nuulushu and Shidolo coming close to scoring.
Neither side, however, could break the deadlock as the game ended in a goalless draw.
The result saw Stars maintaining a seven point lead at the top of the log, while Tigers moved up to 13th position on 10 points.
After the match, Stars’ coach Mervin Mbakera said it was a typical derby.
“It was a derby game and they don’t respect facts and stats, so we expected such a high tempo game,” he said.
“I think the boys stuck in there, but we will take the point and we march on. Internationally, to win the league the yardstick is to take two points per match and we got that because we beat Orlando Pirates on Saturday, but there are still a lot of games to come, we don’t need this to be a setback. We have a plan, we have an objective, and the boys have done very well – we had eight wins in a row so credit goes to them and we march on,” her said.
‘A tactical game’ – Naholo
Tigers’ co-coach Mekondjo Naholo said he was pleased with their performance.
“It was one of the big Katutura derbies against probably the best team in the league. It was a tactical game – we changed our shape to mirror their shape which was three at the back, because we felt man to man we had a chance, so although it was a tight game I thought we had one or two chances in the first half to take it, when we created the better chances,” he said.
Of course they came back fired up for the second half, so we were a bit under pressure, but we were able to keep our tactical shape and maybe except for a few crosses coming in from Awilo Stephanus, I thought we were as good as they were,” he added.
Naholo said the club was going through a time of transition.
“Ours is a work in progress, there’s been a big transition at the club, not only at the executive level, but also at the technical level, as well as with the playing staff – I think we signed about 10 new players so its a bit difficult and we need time for the players to gel, but unfortunately at a big club like this time is a luxury, especially if results are not positive,” he added.
Life Fighters, meanwhile, replaced Blue Waters in second position on the log with a 3-1 victory over Omeya at Walvis Bay on Sunday. Coupled with their 2-2 draw against Eleven Arrows on Saturday, Life Fighters have now moved up to 22 points, one point ahead of Blue Waters.
Young African had a very successful weekend, beating Civics 3-2 on Saturday and Citizens 1-0 on Sunday, to move up to seventh position on the log, while Black Africa’s resurgence continued as theu also registered two victories, beating Citizens 4-0 on Saturday and Civics 2-1 on Sunday.
Blue Waters managed to beat Julinho 2-0 on Saturday, but it was a poor weekend for fellow coastal side Eleven Arrows, who drew 2-2 to Life Fighters and lost 2-1 to Julinho, after which their coach Paulus Shipanga announced his resignation from the club.
The log is attached.