Late Black Aces strike down AmaZulu

A late goal from Themba Zwane handed Mpumalanga Black Aces their first Absa Premiership win of the season as they defeated AmaZulu 2-1 at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Tuesday night.

Omar Hendricks opened the scoring midway through the first half but AmaZulu replied deep into the second half through Bongi Macala before Zwane’s goal decided the match.

Aces dominated from the onset and came close to opening the scoring in the 4th minute when Themba Zwane knocked the ball back towards Mabhuti Khenyeza but his effort was deflected wide by Willem Mwedihanga.

Khenyeza was back in the thick of things eight minutes later, this time collecting the ball on the turn before dribbling past Mwedihanga, only to fire his low shot just wide of goal from the edge of the box.

The opening goal arrived in the 19th minute when Hendricks stole possession from Sadney Urikhob just after the centre line and took a few steps forward before beating Aubrey Mathibe with a powerful swerving shot.

The Usuthu goalkeeper was kept busy again in the 26th minute as he made two good saves in quick succession, parrying a long range effort from Khenyeza before blocking another effort from Onyekachi Okonkwo.

AmaZayoni almost doubled their lead on the stroke of halftime when Khenyeza found Thabo Qalinge inside the penalty area, but Van Heerden managed to deflect the ball wide of goal with Mathibe going the wrong direction.

Usuthu threatened early in the second half and came close to leveling matters in the 55th minute when Kulegani Madondo freed Mohammed-Awal Issah through the middle, but Bafana Nhlapo came off his line to stop him just inside the box.

Then seven minutes later the action was back at the other end with Zwane finding Khenyeza on the left side of the box, but the striker flashed his shot wide of the near post.

Khenyeza should have done better in the 67th minute when he was picked out by Okonkwo in the centre of the penalty area, only to blast his shot over the crossbar from close range.

The hosts then started to throw more men forward in search of the equaliser but Mthiyane fired his shot over the crossbar in the 73rd minute, while Nhlapo did well to cut a low cross from the winger six minutes later.

Usuthu eventually levelled matters in the 82nd minute when Macala fired home from close range on the right after receiving a good pass from Sithembiso Ngcobo.

However, it was the visitors who had the last say in the second minute of added time as Zwane buried the rebound into the back of the net after Mathibe had been unable to hold onto a shot from Khenyeza.

AmaZulu (0) 1 (Macala 86’)

Mpumalanga Black Aces (1) 2 (Hendricks 19’, Zwane 90 + 2’)

AmaZulu: Mathibe, Macala, Teyise, Mwedihanga, Van Heerden, Madondo, Madubanya (Issah 46’), Manqana, Urikhob (Ngcobo 78’), Dlamini G (Mthiyane 46’), Ndulula

Mpumalanga Black Aces: Nhlapo, Hendricks, Mabaso, Ferreira, Mwanjale, Qalinge, Zuke (Siwahla 86’), Nato, Zwane, Okonkwo (Ngobeni 69’), Khenyeza