Stellenbosch FC (SFC) kick-started the new year with a 2-0 victory over DSTv Premiership newbies Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC (TTM) at the Danie Craven Stadium this past Tuesday.
TTM started the match with real intent and had the home side under the cosh for the opening exchanges of the game. The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 18th minute after a De Goede handled the ball in the box. However, TTM could not capitalize on the defenders’ misfortune when Lee Langeveldt pulled off a fantastic save to deny Thabo Rakhale from opening the scoring.
As the first half progressed the Maroon and Gold grew in confidence creating several chances at the other end, forcing last ditch tackles and a series of body-on-the-line defending from the visitors. The teams went in all square at the break with the second half promising a lot more.
It was the home side who came out guns blazing on the other end of the break, stringing together beautiful passages of play and executing sharp combinations, shifting the TTM lines in sixes and sevens.
Just after 65 minutes played and it was Stellenbosch who drew first blood. The Stellies outfit managing to string together just over 20 passes, before right full-back, Deano Van Rooyen found space out wide and picked out his counterpart Marc van Heerden at the back post. The Stellies no.8 making no mistake from close range, 1-0 the score, van Heerden back amongst the goals.
After several changes, with likes of P. Nange, A. Msengi, R. Moon and A. Mbekile all making second half appearances, the Stellenbosch outfit solidified its dominance and found the games second goal.
In the 81st minute sharp thinking from the Stellies attack saw a quickly taken line-out catching the TTM defence off-guard. Some swift interchanging of passing saw the ball worked over the box line where Ryan Moon dropped it off to Ally Msengi who put Nange in on goal, splitting the TTM defence with a delightful through-ball. The Stellies midfielder clipping the ball over the TTM keeper to score his sides second on the day. 2-0 the score and that is how it ended at the Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch FC victorious in the new year and up to 7th on the standings.
“Credit to Stellenbosch who came out a different side in the second half. Our energy levels were not up to scratch and they killed off the game by converting their chances, we didn’t give up, we just couldn’t break them”, said Joel Masutha, Head Coach of TTM.
Assistant Coach of SFC, Wesley Sergel said, “I think overall a very good performance, coming back in the new year is not always easy with the short break. TTM are a dangerous team to come up against, they started well and put us under a bit of pressure, but we came back, created chances and got the win deservedly.”
Stellenbosch FC next face bottom of the log Black Leopards this Friday. Goal scorer on the day and Stellies Left-full-back, Marc van Heerden said, “It’s a quick turnaround- Friday- against Black Leopards, I think we need to take confidence out of this performance. I think we need to take that same belief as we did coming into this one which is: that we can beat anyone on our day and continue to carry that belief game-by-game.”