Free State Stars played out to a stuttering 0-0 draw with Santos in their first fixture of the PSL season at the Botshabelo Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The home side had the better of the first half with most of the possession in front of a small crowd in bright sunshine.
Kingston Nkatha for Stars had a free kick from just outside the Santos box and sent a powerful shot sailing over the posts in the 14th minute.
In the opening encounters it was Mpho Makola for Stars who made his mark, as he showed his inventive play in a central position. There was much congestion in the midfield with both teams running out of ideas on attack.
Erwin Isaacs for Santos made a run up the middle of the field to collect a clearance from his own keeper, and found himself with a clear shot on goal but was unable to get his shot away before the Stars defender made it back in time to block his goal-bound attempt in the 33rd minute.
The best chance of the first half and indeed the game fell to Santos in the 35th minute, when Isaacs again was involved with a superb flick-on for Jurie Basie that left him with just the keeper to beat, and he was unable to convert with a wayward shot.
Eleazar Rodgers of Santos made a good run down the left in the 54th minute and gathered the cross with Erwin Isaacs waiting open on the right, when he instead somewhat selfishly opted to have a shot and missed the target badly.
While both sides in the second half played with a good shape, there wasn’t much pace left in the movements and goal-scoring opportunities were scarce.
The game ended predictably without a goal, which left both sides realising they need to improve if they want to be competitive in the PSL this season. – Sapa