Aces sink Ajax to go second

Mpumalanga Black Aces moved to second place on the Absa Premiership standings, two points behind Bidvest Wits, after edging out Ajax Cape Town 1-0 at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday night.

Aces scored what turned to be the only goal after an action-packed and opportunity-filled game in Nelspruit when Collins Mbesuma struck on 42 minutes.

After a quiet start to the game, the contest burst to life on the 10 minute mark, Musa Lebusa’s weak back-pass nearly costing his team, the defender fortunate to be bailed out by a fine save from Anssi Jaakkola on Judas Moseamedi.

Ajax then had several chances in succession as an unmarked Nathan Paulse headed wide after a pinpoint cross by Erwin Isaacs, before moments later the Cape side were even closer when Abubaker Mobara saw his effort pushed onto the bar by Shu-aib Walters.

There was an excellent chance on 21 minutes for Erwin Isaacs, but after the ball had fallen kindly for him in the box, he skied his shot over the bar from 15-yards. Four minutes later Isaacs was unfortunate to watch as his shot was deflected onto the far upright.

Aces went close on 29 minutes when Mbesuma was denied a near post goal by a fine Jaakkola save after the Zambian had gotten on the end of a cross from the left.

The action continued relentlessly as Bantu Mzwakali was denied by Walters after a great run before Lehlohonolo Nonyane missed two efforts for the hosts, the second one in front of an empty net.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 42nd minute when former Ajax player Lebo Manyama cut through the heart of the Urban Warriors defence, rounding Jaakkola before Mbesuma fired home.

The Zambian had the chance to add a second 10 minutes after half time, but indecisiveness let him down after another slip by Lebusa, as the defender recovered in time.

With 20 minutes to go, Ajax substitute Prince Nxumalo nearly leveled the score, but watched as his header drifted inches wide. The visitors squandered another chance five minutes later when Mzwakali proved too ponderous after seemingly clean in on goal.

Nxumalo went close again in the 81st minute, but after controlling well in the box, his shot was pulled badly wide. Ajax tried hard to get a late equaliser, but it was not to be their night as they return to the Mother City empty handed despite a relatively good performance.

Black Aces (1) 1 (Mbesuma 42’)
Ajax Cape Town (0) 0

Aces: Walters, Mzava, Matsi, Ngalo, Nonyane, Modiba (Sherman 70’), Khuboni, Tukane, Manyama, Moseamedi (Kobola 46’), Mbesuma (Masina 88’)

Ajax: Jaakkola, Lebusa, Mobara, Coetzee, Ncube, Mzwakali (Mdabuka 86’), Losper (Nxumalo 65’), Graham, Cale (Eksteen 79’), Isaacs, Paulse