After going a goal down early on MP Black Aces came from behind in their Round of 16 Telkom Knockout match to beat Moroka Swallows 3-1 at the Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday night.
Goals from Marawaan Bantam, Lindokuhle Mbatha and Mpho Maleka saw Aces complete their comeback and sealed their path into the quarterfinals of the competition.
It was an exciting opening 45 minutes which saw two goals and plenty of goal-mouth action. The home side were the first to break the deadlock and continued to dominate the possession stakes until mid way through the half.
Thereafter, Aces took firm control of the midfield and started creating some chances of their own, before eventually grabbing the equaliser three minutes before the break.
Swallows did, though, start like a house on fire in front of their home fans and attacked from the word go. Morgan Shivambu pulled the best out of Francis Chansa when he forced him into a great save from a powerfully 25-yard shot.
In the ninth minute the Birds were rewarded for their efforts when Keegan Ritchie scored directly from a corner-kick. The Swallows player curled a right-sided corner into the back of the net as Chansa completely misjudged the flight of the ball, 1-0.
After that the Birds control of the game slowly faded away and only the finger tips of Greg Etafia kept his side in the lead in the 11th minute. Vusiwe Masondo made his way into the box on the right side and fired a shot goalwards, but Etafia made a fine save diving full stretch to his right to deny the Aces player.
The Mpumalanga side came within inches of drawing level once again in the 39th minute when an 18-yard Marawaan Bantam shot sailed just over the crossbar with the keeper well beat.
Nonetheless, Bantam only had to wait a further three minutes before he did find his name on the score sheet. Vusiwe Masondo provided an inch perfect cross from the right side and Bantam rose highest to powerfully head his side level, 1-1.
The second half was very different to that of the first as the game got a bit scrappy as neither team was able to hold onto the ball for long periods of time.
There was, however, nothing scrappy about the game’s third goal as Lindokuhle Mbatha scored a wonder goal in the 60th minute.
A cross was whipped in from the left to the far side of the box and found an unmarked Mbatha. The Aces man showed real class as he magnificently side-footed the ball into the top left-hand corner, across the face of Etafia to give his side the lead, 2-1.
That goal saw the trailing home side come out of their shells a bit as they pushed forward in attack, desperate to turn their stuttering start to the 2010/11 season around
Aces, though, wrapped up the match in the 78th minute when some sloppy defending by Swallows saw Mpho Maleka score his side’s third goal of the night. A cross came in from the left and with the defence unable to clear Maleka quickly pounced on the ball, firing it past Etafia from six-yards out, 3-1.
That is the way it ended as Aces moved onto the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout while the Birds suffered their third consecutive defeat and see their terrible season continue.-Story by Backpagepix