Aces stun leaders Sundowns

Clifford Mulenga scored the only goal of the match as Mpumalanga Black Aces edged out Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night.

Clive Barker’s side broke the deadlock early in the first half and managed to hold on for the win despite the constant pressure from the Brazilians.

The two sides had early chances in the 5th minute but Ofentse Nato headed over the crossbar from Clifford Mulenga’s freekick, while Cuthbert Malajila was denied by a good save from Bafana Nhlapo at the other end.

The opening goal arrived in the 10th minute when Aces caught Sundowns on the counter with Mulenga springing the offside trap to latch onto a pass from Thabo Qalinge before slotting the ball past Kennedy Mweene.

The Zambia international came close to grabbing his brace just two minutes later when he turned Alje Schut on the left side off the box, but his effort came off the foot of the post before deflecting off Mweene for a corner.

Sundowns should have equalised in the 14th minute when Teko Modise released Malajila on the right, who then squared the ball for Katlego Mashego, but his goalbound shot was blocked by Mbulelo Mabizela.

Mashego crafted another opportunity three minutes later with a solo run before unleashing a low shot from a tight angle, but Nhlapo was able to make the block at the near post.

Sundowns had another opportunity in the 23rd minute when Modise’s inswinging corner found Schut at the far post, but the defender headed wide before colliding with teammate Rashid Sumaila.

The visitors continued to apply pressure and in the 37th minute Tebogo Langerman collected a pass from Modise on the run before forcing a good save from Nhlapo with a volleyed strike from the edge of the penalty area.

The Aces goalkeeper was called into action again three minutes later, this time diving to his right to parry a solid strike from Sumaila, who was given too much room on the right side of the box.

The visitors continued to search for the equaliser in the second half and Modise tested Nhlapo with a long range effort in the 59th minute, but again the Aces goalkeeper came out on top.

Langerman had another opportunity in the 68th minute when a cross from Bryce Moon found him unmarked at the far post, but his poor first touch allowed Nhlapo to come off his line to collect the ball.

Qalinge threatened for AmaZayoni in the 81st minute when he unleashed a shot from outside the box, but Mweene was positioned well to make a comfortable save as Aces held on for the win.

Sundowns remain in first place with 23 points from 11 matches, while Aces have moved up to 9th place with 14 points.

Mpumalanga Black Aces (1) (Mulenga 10’)
Mamelodi Sundowns 0

Black Aces: Nhlapo, Kobola, Mabizela, Nato, Hendricks, Ngobeni, Zuke (Mtsweni 73’), Ngalo, Qalinge, Mulenga (Kgatla 85’), Okonkwo (Masina 65’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene, Langerman (Henyekane 77’), Schut (Arendse 46’), Moon, Sumaila, Nyandoro, Kekana (Pelembe 57’), Shongwe, Modise, Malajila, Mashego