Mpumalanga Black Aces returned to winning form in the Absa Premiership as they defeated Maritzburg United 2-1 at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.
Tendai Ndoro and Ofentse Nato scored AmaZayoni’s goals, while the Team of Choice got themselves on the score sheet through Orlando Smeekes. The visitors could have earned a share of the spoils with a late penalty, but Aces goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane pulled off a heroic save.
Aces got off to the perfect start, with Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro opening the scoring as early as the third minute. Mabhuti Khenyeza got on the end of a long pass and flicked his header into the path of Ndoro, who beat Shu-Aib Walters to the ball for his first goal in the Absa Premiership.
However, the home side’s lead was short lived as United equalised in the 12th minute through Orlando Smeekes. The heavily-tattooed attacker powered home a perfectly placed header from Delron Buckley’s cross to make it 1-1.
Aces’ Ofentse Nato made himself a hero 10 minutes before the interval with a breath-taking goal. The ball fell kindly for him in the box from a free kick and he struck a sublime volley, on the turn, into the bottom corner of the net. Goalkeeper Walters stood no chance and it left AmaZayoni 2-1 up at the break.
Maritzburg looked the likelier scorers in the second half and they were finally given a lifeline 88 minutes in when a rash challenge from Nato on Terence Mandaza handed the away side a penalty. However, Bhongolwethu Jayiya’s spot kick was saved by Mabokgwane to seal a 2-1 win for Aces.
Black Aces (2) 2 (Ndoro 3’, Nato 35’)
Maritzburg United (1) 1 (Smeekes 12’)
Aces: Mabokgwane, Mabaso, Mabizela, Nato, Ngalo, Qalinge, Zuke, Ngobeni, Zwane (Timm 66’), Ndoro (Tukane 86’), Khenyeza (Mulenga 83’)
United: Walters, Evans, Awal, M. Booysen, Cloete, Isaacks (Sheppard 66’), De Jongh, Morton, Buckley (Sekotlong 72’), Smeekes (Mandaza 69’), Jayiya – Backpage Media