Free State Stars were unable to make their home advantage count on Saturday evening as Chippa United clinched a 2-0 victory at Goble Park.
Having seen their previous fixture against Polokwane City postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Goble Park, Ea Lla Koto were itching to get back to action.
And, with new signings Michelle Katsvairo and Martin Kizza in the starting XI, the mood around the Stars camp was one of optimism.
However, Chippa threw a spanner in the works just before the half-hour mark when they were awarded a penalty, with Rhulani Manzini holding his nerve to convert from the spot.
The Chilli Boys proved to be very hard to break down as Stars struggled to make an impact in the final third of the pitch.
In response, coach Nikola Kovazovic opted to make two changes at half-time in a bid to kickstart a comeback, with Makhehlene Makhaula and Sibusiso Masina entering the fray in place of Goodman Dlamini and Relebogile Mokhuoane.
Unfortunately, the double change did little to alter the course of the clash as Chippa went on to net their second of game in the 84th minute, Kurt Lentjies finding the top-left corner from the centre of the box.
Stars threw everything forward in the closing stages of the contest, but it was not to be as Chippa United held on collect a vital three points.