Free State Stars 0-1 Kaizer Chiefs: Teenage Hadebe scores as Amakhosi dim Stars

Amakhosi moved into third position on the log following their 1-0 win over Ea Lla Koto at the Goble Park Stadium on Wednesday night

Kaizer Chiefs needed a Teenage Hadebe strike to beat Free State Stars and keep their slim title hopes alive. 

Steve Komphela had declared that Chiefs were on a mission to collect the remaining 18 points, and they have done the job in the Free State, meaning they are still on the right track. 

Stars had a bright start to the encounter when Itumeleng Khune fumbled a cross into his box, only for Daniel Cardoso to clear the ball away from danger. 

It was end to end stuff as both sides threw kitchen sinks at each other in the opening 20 minutes, but Chiefs were again guilty of letting Stars off the hook on a number of occasions. 

Leonardo Castro was brilliantly picked out by Ryan Moon, who kept his place in the starting line-up despite having a disappointing showing against Baroka last weekend. 

The Colombian marksman was unable to beat Badra Sangare, who raced off his line to make a fine block. 

At this stage, Chiefs looked menacing going forward, especially on the right hand side where Ramahlwe Mphahlele was operating. 

Stars dominated in patches, and they looked very good in the middle of the park, using Sinethemba Jantjie to penetrate the Amakhosi wall.

Perhaps Jantjie had a point to prove against a team that deemed too expensive during the January transfer window, and the attacker tested Khune several times without luck. 

Stars' real chance came via captain Paulus Masehe, who fired towards goal from distance, only for Khune to magnificently parry the ball over the crossbar. 

The second half started the same way the first ended, and 10 minutes into the second period, Castro saw his attempt kept out by Sangare. 

Tchilimbou should had the chance to give Stars the lead midway through the second half, but the attacker headed wide with Khune well beaten.

While Chiefs looked promising in the final third, their defence was often threatened, and that didn't sit well with Komphela, who was up on his feet the entire time as his charges soaked up the pressure. 

The small pitch in Bethlehem didn't make it any easier for Chiefs, but Stars enjoyed all the freedom in their own pitch, spreading passes wide in an attempt to try and confuse the visitors. 

Komphela realized that his team was struggling to break down the Stars defence, and he introduced Dumisani Zuma to add pace upfront, and that's when the tempo increased.

Chiefs were often let down by their poor decision-making in the final third, but that wasn't surprising for a team that went into the game with only 20 goals scored in 24 matches. 

On the other hand, Stars were always going to have to punch above their weight to beat Khune, who has kept more 15 clean sheets in all competitions this season. 

The final 15 minutes were very tight, and when it looked like Chiefs were going to register their 14th draw of the season, Hadebe struckt in the dying minutes to give them the lead.  

The Zimbabwean centre-back was in the right place at the right time to head home for his first Amakhosi goal; the strike which proved the difference on the night. 

Hadebe's goal was enough to take Amakhosi into third position on the log, and a point above fourth-placed Maritburg United, who are on 38 points with five league games to go.