BLACK Aces handed Orlando Pirates a 2-1 defeat in an Absa Premiership clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Tuesday night,
with Mabhuti Khenyeza’s late penalty proving the difference between the sides.
An early goal from Collins Mbesuma put AmaZayoni ahead, but the Buccaneers struck back through a spot kick from Lehlohonolo
Majoro. However, Khenyeza – completing a trio of former Kaizer Chiefs strikers getting on the score sheet – netted in the 79th minute
from a penalty to seal victory for the Mpumalanga club.
Pirates started the match strongly and Kermit Erasmus almost opened the scoring in the second minute, firing a cross-shot from the
left that had the beating of goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane but rebounded off the outside of the near post.
A couple of minutes later Erasmus was bundled over in the 18-yard area for what looked a clear penalty, but referee Victor Hlungwani waved away their appeals for a penalty, and the Bafana Bafana striker was also guilty of spurning a good chance in the 10th minute.
Aces then opened the scoring against the run of play in the 12th minute. A free kick delivery from the right flank found the head of
former Pirates striker Collins Mbesuma and the Zambian directed his effort into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
The Buccaneers created half chances to equalise, but both Patrick Phungwayo and Khethowakhe Masuku were guilty of failing to test
Mabokgwane with shots from the edge of the box in the 19th and 40th minutes respectively.
All the while Aces looked dangerous on attack, with Mbesuma and Tendai Ndoro proving a handful for Bucs’ defence. However, the
first half ended with no change to the score line and AmaZayoni in control of the match.
Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic made two positive substitutions just before the hour mark, sending on former Black Aces favourite
Thabo Qalinge and striker Lehlohonolo Majoro in an effort to spark their attack to life.
Qalinge threatened an equaliser just before the midway point of the first half, letting fly from long range to force Mabokgwane into a
fine save. The rebound fell the way of Daine Klate, but the winger pulled his effort wide of the target.
The Buccaneers finally drew level in the 70th minute when Majoro coolly converted a penalty. The spot kick had been awarded after
Mabokgwane had brought down Erasmus in the box after a sustained period of pressure from the visitors.
Yet just nine minutes later the Soweto side gave away a soft penalty, with Oupa Manyisa bizarrely missing a header in the box and
allowing the ball to strike his arm. Substitute Mabhuti Khenyeza converted from the spot to put Aces back ahead at 2-1.
Black Aces (1) 2 (Mbesuma 12’, Khenyeza 79’ pen)
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Majoro 70’ pen)
Aces: Mabokgwane, Mampuru, Nonyane, Gumede, Nahayo, Ngalo, Tukane, Okonkwo (Nengomasha 85’), Nale (Masina 55’), Mbesuma (Khenyeza 76’), Ndoro
Pirates: Meyiwa, Nyauza, Sangweni, Gcaba, Phungwayo, Masuku (Qalinge 58’), Sarr, Ntshumayelo (Majoro 58’), Klate (Myeni 78’), Manyisa, Erasmus.-Backpage TXT