Mbulelo Mabizela proved the difference between the sides with a well-taken goal, 10 minutes into the second period of play, and would be the only score in a scrappy affair.
Stars, only two places ahead of their opponents, were also sorely in need of points from the fixture. But it was AmaZulu who walked away with all three points, climbing to 20 points – two behind Stars – with six games remaining in the season.
The struggles of the relegation-threatened teams were apparent from the outset.
The contest began at sluggish pace with neither team able to mount anything of substance going forward. The teams were stuck in a midfield tactical battle for much of the opening half, and the first attempt on goal only came a minute before the half-hour mark.
Danny Venter for Free State Stars stepped up to take a free kick for his side from 30 metres out. His attempt was well-struck and drew the attention of goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro, but the ball sailed just over the target to the relief of the home side.
After coming close to conceding AmaZulu sparked into life, and four minutes later a good attempt of their own followed. Goodman Dlamini reeled off a shot from the edge of the area, and the strike required a full-length diving save from Johnny Mathole in the Stars goal to keep the scores level.
In the 40th minute, AmaZulu again came close to scoring when Bornwell Mwape ran into space just outside the box. His cross for Bongani Ndulula evaded the keeper, but the lunging striker could not get a foot on the ball in front of an open goal as the teams marched to the break goalless.
AmaZulu hit the front in the the 55th minute with a goal from Mabizela. Marc van Heerden sent the ball into the area from a corner, a headed attempt was blocked before Mabizela snapped up the rebound and fired the ball into the back of the net.
AmaZulu had the chance to put the result beyond doubt in the 86th minute, but Mwape’s fiercely struck attempt smashed into the woodwork.
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