MPUMALANGA Black Aces recorded back-to-back Absa Premiership wins for the first time this season when they defeated AmaZulu 2-0 at Mbombela Stadium tonight.
Following on from a 2-1 victory over Maritzburg United on Sunday, Clive Barker’s AmaZayoni picked up another three crucial points thanks to goals from Themba Zwane and Mabhuti Khenyeza. As for Usuthu, it is their second successive loss after succumbing 1-0 at home to Bidvest Wits this past weekend.
After a quiet start from both teams, the first shot in anger arrived from AmaZulu’s Nkosinathi Mthiyane in the 21st minute, but the AmaZulu attacker put his effort over the crossbar and failed to trouble Jackson Mabokgwane in Aces’ goal.
The hosts created their first attempt from a corner kick in the 28th minute. Mbulelo Mabizela’s cross resulted in Clifford Ngobeni having a sight of goal, but the AmaZayoni midfielder put his shot over the target.
Six minutes later Aces worked another opportunity in attack and Mabhuti Khenyeza was able to get a shot away, but the ball drifted wide of the left-hand post and posed no challenge for goalkeeper Philani Zikalala.
As the half neared its end the hosts were dominating play and managed to break the deadlock in the 44th minute through Themba Zwane. The midfielder beat Zikalala with a right-footed finish after latching onto an assist from Khenyeza, leaving Aces 1-0 up at the break.
AmaZulu looked for a quick reply soon after the restart in the second half, but former Ajax Cape Town midfielder Nhlanhla Shabalala directed his shot wide of the target in the 49th minute.
However, Aces were soon back on the front foot and threatened a second goal through Thabo Qalinge, who shot over the bar on the hour mark, while substitute Clifford Mulenga also missed the target a couple of minutes later.
On 65 minutes the hosts doubled their advantage. The lively Mulenga provided a cross for Khenyeza, who was able to direct a header beyond the reach of Zikalala to make it 2-0 and put AmaZayoni in complete control of the match.
Just a couple of minutes later AmaZulu needed Zikalala to produce an excellent save and deny Sandile Zuke, who must have through he had made it 3-0 when he powered an effort on target.
Usuthu brought both Njabulo Manqana and Bongani Ndulula off the bench in an effort to boost their attack and try get back into the game, but it was to no avail as Aces were able to see out the game in relative comfort and claim a deserved victory.
The result sees AmaZayoni move up two places to 10th on 23 points, while Usuthu remain in fifth on 28 points.
Black Aces (1) 2 (Zwane 44’, Khenyeza 65’)
Aces: Mabokgwane, Mabaso, Mabizela, Nato, Ngalo, Ngobeni, Zwane (Nale 82’), Zuke, Qalinge, Ndoro (Mulenga 61’), Khenyeza
AmaZulu: Zikalala, Macala, Teyise, Nyadombo, van Heerden, Madondo, Shabalala (Arwuah 84’), G. Dlamini (Ndulula 72’), Mthiyane (Manqana 69’), A. Dlamini, Liphoko.
In another match Kaizer Chiefs continued with their impressive run when they beat Bloemfontein Celtic 3-0 at the FNB Stadium tonight. The win saw Chiefs cemented their log leadership with 43 points, a 9 points gap between themselves and second placed Mamelodi Sundowns-Backpage TXT