A gallant Platinum Stars emerged 1-0 winners versus SuperSport United against the odds of being reduced to ten men after debutant Sphamandla Mlilo was sent for an early shower when he picked up a second yellow card early in the second interval, and in that, captain Vuyo Mere had to revert to a more familiar position at centre-back, after the 32-year-old started in the midfield enchoring role.
It was, however, a night of showcasing new signings for both Calvin Johnson and Baxter, as the home side saw Mlilo and Siphiwe Mnguni make their debut, along with the prodigal son Henrico Botes, who made his return to the club, forging a promising partnership upfront with Ndumiso Mabena. On the contrast, Baxter handed debuts to veterans Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Omnisor Bhasera, along with returnee and former captain Morgan Gould.
Jeremy Brockie, who was Matsatsantsa a Pitori’s top goalscorer last season with 18 goals to his name, looked to hit the ground running as early as the 7th minute with a stinging shot, but Bongani Mzimela was there to parry.
Mzimela was the busiest most part of the first half as the pairing of Brockie and ex-Stars striker Bradley Grobler proved to be a menace, but Mzimela kept the pair at bay.
However, Ronwen Williams was brought into action in the 25th and was forced to make a save from a goal-bound Botes shot.
Five minutes later, Botes strike partner, Mabena, who was relatively quite most part of the first interval, failed to score when they caught United on the break. Mzimela continued his impressive performance after saving a Brockie shot after the New Zealander broke away on the counter.
SuperSport were one of the few teams in the soiled season who managed a result at the Royal Bafokeng, a fotress that Dikwena have proved to be stubborn, but it was not to be last night. In addition, Baxter had said ahead of the encounter that his side were underdogs, however, SuperSport had the last say last season when they thumped Orlando Pirates in the Nedbank Cup final. But, as it appeared, the Pretorians failed to continue where they left off.