at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Black Aces (2) 3
Bhengu 26, 43, Mwikisa 69
University of Pretoria (0) 2
Sekotlong 62, Mtsweni 68
It’s not the most ideal of ways to win promotion, nor will it be the most memorable, but University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) are not likely to care one bit after they finally booked their ticket from the National First Division to the top flight, having missed out on numerous occasions before.
In spite of the fact that they lost this match and were just not convincing on the day against Mpumalanga Black Aces, AmaTuks, who were slowly becoming part of the furniture in the First Division, won automatic promotion with one match to spare all thanks to the result between second-placed Blackburn Rovers and Chippa United in Cape Town on Sunday.
Rovers were six points behind AmaTuks prior to Sunday’s matches and needed to win to keep their hopes alive, but instead lost 2-0 to Chippa, handing automatic promotion to the Tshwane team.
The AmaTuks players did not celebrate at the end of this clash, clearly not knowing the result in the Chippa-Blackburn tie at that stage, but they were thrilled when news came through that they had won promotion. It was not before enduring anxious moments, however.
Former Moroka Swallows striker Phumelele Bhengu was the chief destroyer for Aces, scoring a brace in the first half, one of those goals from the penalty spot, and striker Liniker Mwikisa netted the third to further enhance the Mpumalanga side’s chance of surviving relegation.
Aces moved to 30 points after this victory and will need to win their last match against FC Cape Town away from home to have any hope of staying in the First Division, a league into which they were demoted last season.
Bhengu stunned the visitors when he finished off a good move which involved him and tricky midfielder Ayanda Lubelo shooting powerfully past AmaTuks goalkeeper and captain Siya Mngoma.
Aces kept pushing forward to try and save their campaign and they extended the lead when Bhengu converted from the penalty spot after AmaTuks defender Mpho Maruping had handled the ball in the area.
Going into the break, it looked as though the visitors would not make a comeback, but they shrugged off their sloppy first-half display and started playing their normal game.
Tuks’ top scorer Thokozani Sekotlong, the man who was not too long ago rumoured to be on Kaizer Chiefs’ radar, pulled one back for his side, the youngster superbly curling the ball from outside the Aces box past goalkeeper Vusumuzi Gwanya.
AmaTuks midfielder Esau Mtshweni levelled matters for the visitors six minutes later, heading home from close range.
AmaTuks had the tenacity to pull level after going two goals down at halftime, but they found themselves trailing again with just over 20 minutes remaining after Liniker Mwikisa, although there seemed to be a handball by the goal-scorer. AmaTuks protested, but their cries fell on deaf ears as the referee ruled the goal should stand.
That didn’t matter though as AmaTuks won promotion, bringing to three the number of Tshwane sides in the Absa Premiership. – The Star