NELSPRUIT – Acornbush United were within 15 minutes of pulling of a huge Nedbank Cup last-16 upset over Kaizer Chiefs until Gustavo Paez rescued the
The Mpumalanga outfit had shocked Premiership log leaders Cape Town City with a 1-0 win in the previous round, and they proved that victory was no fluke with another very accomplished showing against Steve Komphela’s Soweto giants at the Kabokweni Stadium.
Despite going down to 10 men midway through the first half, the third-tier club scored first and looked like they may just manage to hold on for victory before Paez ruthlessly buried their dream with two clinical finishes.
With the stands at the picturesque rural stadium packed to capacity, the rookies started the game well and although goalkeeper Sibusiso Masuku had to make a couple of saves in the opening 10 minutes, they were not overly troubled in defence.
Acornbush striker Mduduzi Nkosi has scored 19 goals in the league this season, and he seemed set to write his name in lights when Mlungisi Nkosi played him through on goal in the 20th minute, but having done superbly to take the ball round Itumeleng Khune, the parting shot went wide of an empty net.
Masuku then again stood firm in goal to stop Joseph Molangoane from bending the ball in at the far post, before the hosts suffered a big blow on 28 minutes when Bongani Nyathi was red-carded after standing on the ankle of Willard Katsande.
But the ABC Motsepe League team didn’t allow the setback to bother them too much, and they took the lead two minutes before halftime when Rhulani Sidumo thumped in a resounding header at the back-post following Mduduzi Nkosi’s accurate delivery.
As expected, Kaizer Chiefs were to put the Acornbush United defence under severe pressure after the restart, but some committed defending of the highest order by McDonald Makhubedu’s men saw Amakhosi struggle to create any breakthroughs.
But the Glamour Boys finally got reward for their efforts 12 minutes from the end when Paez scorched a half-volley in at the far post from the right-hand side of the box.
The Venezuelan substitute completed the rescue act in the 85th minute when he tucked the ball in from close range after a Bernard Parker cross as a rather relieved Amakhosi booked their place in the quarter-finals.
African News Agency (ANA)