Thanda had the lion’s share of possession for much of the game, but couldn’t beat Stars for technical ability or strength.
In the second minute July Mahlangu had an impressive long-range shot tipped over the bar by Tapiwa Kapini.
Stars went ahead in the 18th minute, when, from an innocuous cross, an unmarked Phumudzo Manenzhe’ glancing header found the keeper in no man’s land.
In the 23rd minute Thanda had a chance to equalise, when the goalkeeper dealt badly with Bennet Mnguni’s harmless-looking shot, but the ball shot off the post.
After a period of pressure from Thanda, Stars made it 2-0 against the run of play, when Luis Renteria put on a burst of pace to beat Patrick Mayo and slot home past the keeper.
Thanda managed a consolation goal in the 80th minute, when Stars’ keeper Kapini makes a hash of a long ball, chesting it into the path of a chasing-down Serge Djiehoua, who walked the ball into the net.