Mpumalanga Black Aces’ Absa Premiership season ended on a low note on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 at the Mbombela Stadium by University of Pretoria.
However, AmaZayoni still finished seventh on the log and will have the chance to participate in the MTN8 next season, an outstanding achievement for a team that was promoted via the playoffs at the start of the campaign.
The victory sees AmaTuks – who scored their winning goal via Geoffrey Massa early in the second half – leapfrog Ajax Cape Town into 11th place.
The teams traded early chances, with Miguel Tim threatening for Aces, while Geoffrey Massa stung the palms of goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane. On 20 minutes Tuks’ Tebogo Monyai fired an effort on target, but Mabokgwane made a fine diving stop to keep the score line blank.
Aces threatened the opening goal just a couple of minutes later through Zimbabwean marksman Tendai Ndoro, but the striker pulled his shot wide of goal without troubling Tristyn Coetsee.
Defender Ofentse Nato also looked to break the deadlock in favour of the home team, only to send a header off target from a corner kick, while at the other end Massa was able to shoot on goal direct from a free kick, but Mabokgwane was again on hand to make a comfortable save.
However, it was a case of third time lucky for Massa early in the second half, as he netted in the 51st minute to give Tuks the lead. A long ball from ‘keeper Coetsee set up the Ugandan, who finished with his right foot to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
AmaZayoni responded by using all three substitutions by the midway point of the second half, sending on Onyekachi Okonkwo, Clifford Ngobeni and Dennis Masina, the latter of which had a chance to equalise with an 82nd minute header but failed to find the target.
Mpumalanga Black Aces 0
University of Pretoria (0) 1 (Massa 51’)
Aces: Mabokgwane, Mabaso, Mwanjali (Okonkwo 58’), Mabizela, Nato, Ngalo, Zuke, Timm (Ngobeni 68’), Qalinge, Zwane, Ndoro (Masina 67’)
U Pretoria: Coetsee, Monyai, Kekana, Mkhwanazi, Ngubane, Matsi, Zwane, Selolwane (Mosadi 62’), Maruping (Ketjijere 61’), Nyondo, Massa (Monama 76’) – Backpage Media