Stellenbosch FC continued their strong DStv Premiership campaign with a 1-0 home win over Marumo Gallants at the Danie Craven Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The result, secured by a first-half strike from Ashley Du Preez, sees the Maroons rise to second place on the log – three points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who have played a game less – as well as extend their unbeaten start to the season to eight matches.
Bahlabane ba Ntwa, meanwhile, remain winless from seven matches and stay in 15th place.
Stellenbosch created the first threatening moment 11 minutes into the game, with Junior Mendieta freeing Ashley Du Preez down the left of the penalty area – his low cross gave Judas Moseamedi a chance on goal, but Gallants goalkeeper Washington Arubi did well to smother the ball at the striker’s feet.
Du Preez did more good work on 27 minutes and was rewarded with a goal: his driving run from the right teed up Mendieta for a shot which rebounded off the post, and the ball fell kindly for Du Preez to scramble home from close range to put Stellenbosch 1-0 up.
The Maroons continued to boss possession and create most of the attacking play, though they did not further test Arubi through the remainder of the first half, leaving them one goal up at the break.
The start of the second half saw Gallants shuffle their attack with the introduction of Letsie Koapeng and Monde Mphambaniso, but Stellies looked the more dangerous team and almost added to their advantage through Stanley Dimgba, whose goal-bound header from a corner kick was cleared away by Matome Kgoetyane.
Marumo, though, began to find their passing range and finally tested out Stellenbosch goalkeeper Sage Stephens on 52 minutes, with Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo’s long-range hit tipped over the crossbar.
Two minutes later Katlego Otladisa’s cross picked out an unmarked Mphambaniso in the penalty area, but his header was comfortably saved by Stephens, while just past the hour mark the hosts threatened a second goal when Ibraheem Jabaar let fly from the ‘D’ of the penalty area but his effort was parried away by Arubi.
Bahlabane ba Ntwa seized the initiative in the dying stages of the match, but the Maroons – with Stephens providing a steady presence between the posts – were able to hold out and claim all three points.
The teams will be back in DStv Premiership action next midweek, with Stellenbosch visiting Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday, 2 November and Gallants away to AmaZulu the following day.
Stellenbosch FC (1) 1 (du Preez 27’)
Marumo Gallants 0
Stellenbosch: Stephens, Kwinika, Robertson, Sinkala, van Heerden, van Rooyen, Jabaar, Mendieta (De Goede 83’), Du Preez, Moseamedi (Adams 57’), Dimgba (Khunyedi 75’)
Gallants: Arubi, Kgoetyane (Molangoane 80’), Nhlapo, Mabotja, Nonyane, Timm, Ndlondlo, Otladisa (Sibeko 80’), Mnyamane (Koapeng 46’), Ngema (Ntshangase 68’), Matlakala (Mphambaniso 46’)
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