Flames exciting midfielder Gerald Phiri Jnr opened his South Africa Absa Premier Soccer League (PSL) scoring account in style, bagging a brace as Platinum Stars swept aside Bloemfontein Celtic 3-0 at Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday.
The former Be Forward Wanderers and Caps United winger converted two freekicks inside the opening 10 minutes of the game to leave countryman John Maduka, who is Celtic’s co-coach, in trouble.
Play was stopped in stoppage time as home fans pelted objects onto the pitch after what was Celtic’s third defeat in four games.
Phiri, who is among Flames’ key players in the forthcoming assignment, was eventually named man of the match for the first time since moving to the PSL.
Understandably, the 23-year-old was delighted with his fourth consecutive start for the Stars.
“I am settling well and my team mates have been supporting me all the time. It was a good game for me but also for the team to grab three points. I am really excited and looking forward to the next match,” Phiri said in a telephone interview.
In a match report, South Africa’s Soccer Laduma magazine praised Phiri for his wonder goals.
“Dikwena [Stars] broke the deadlock after seven minutes as Gerald Phiri scored his first Absa Premiership goal with a superb free-kick. Stars doubled their lead two minutes later as Phiri grabbed his second with another fine free-kick,” Soccer Laduma added.
His compatriot Robert Ng’ambi was also in fine form for Stars as he provided an assist for Bongi Ntuli’s third goal.
However, Phiri’s compatriot Atusaye Nyondo did not feature for Celtic.
In a separate interview, Phiri’s Manager, Paul Mitchel praised his client for adapting to the demands of the PSL.
Stars have moved up to position 11 whereas Celtic are 13th four points above the drop zone.
Phiri is on loan from Bidvest Wits having spent last season on the sidelines due to work permit hitches.
Elsewhere in the PSL, Gabadihno Mhango’s Bidvest Wits lost 2-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns. Golden Arrows of Limbikani Mzava drew 1-1 against Chippa United on Friday night.
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