WINDHOEK – Two crucial goals from Image Isaacks and Crispin Mbewe, coupled with the club’s sheer determination to finish the season on a high after having earlier lost out on the league title, helped propel African Stars to a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Tigers on Saturday in the maiden Standard Bank Top-8 Cup.
On Thursday night, Black Africa successfully wrestled the league trophy away from Stars with a 3-0 win over Orlando Pirates to be crowned new Namibia Premier League (NPL) champions.
Knowing very well that they had lost out on the league title, Stars on Saturday turned their attention to the prestigious Standard Bank Top-8 Cup, where they faced old foes Tigers in the final at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
As expected, Stars came out gun blazing knowing very well that they had all to play for against Tigers and a possible defeat would all but end their season in bedlam. Stars dominated from the onset and maintained their dominance for the better part of the first half, which saw stocky box-to-box midfielder Image Isaacks give Stars the lead in the 34th minute through a well-engineered free kick.
It remained that way and Stars went into the changeover with a 1-0 advantage. In the second half, Tigers started pressing hard, successfully pushing Stars’ defence back into the deep end. Tigers’ persistence also paid off when substitute Deon Tjizumaue scored from rebound but his goal was disallowed for offside.
Tigers kept knocking hard on the gates of Stars by creating great chances and decent build-ups in the middle of the park but goals were not forthcoming. Towards the dying minutes of the match, Stars took the game beyond Tigers’ reach when unmarked striker Crispin Mbewe extended Stars’ lead from a corner kick.
Stars held on to their 2-0 lead and that’s how matters ended at the Sam Nujoma Stadium for Stars to win the inaugural Standard Bank Top-8 Cup and a handsome N$500 000 in prize money, while Tigers took home N$250 000.