|Dennis Masina © Backpagepix
Mpumalanga Black Aces climbed to the top of the promotion play-off table when they defeated Chippa United 1-0 at the Themba Senamela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Dennis Masina scored the only goal of the match late in the match just moments after coming on as a substitute to send the home crowd into raptures.
Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between in the first half but Tshidiso Mosikidi did have an opportunity to put the hosts ahead in the 2nd minute, only to blast his effort over the crossbar from just inside the box.
Fourteen minutes later it was the visitors who threatened at the other end as William Twala connected with a cross from Rudiger Gilbert, but he directed his header wide of the upright.
Setjhaba Mmuso should have done better eight minutes before the break after receiving a pass from Sandile Zuke in the penalty area, but he fired over the crossbar as the two sides remained inseparable at the break.
Aces started the second half brightly but still failed to trouble Chippa goalkeeper Tashrique Goldman as Mosikidi fired wide of the target in the 56th minute.
Six minutes later Bafana Nhlapo reacted brilliantly at the other end as he came off his line to pluck a dangerous cross from Twala with substitutes Mfundo Shumana and Welcome Qalanto lurking in the box.
Houston Hills replaced Diyo Sibisi in the 65th minute and he should’ve put his side ahead two minutes later when a low cross from Thabo Qalinge found him unmarked near the penalty spot, but he sent his first-time shot over the crossbar.
Mosikidi continued to find spaces inside Chippa’s half and ten minutes later he was given room to unleash a shot from outside the penalty area, but yet again he failed to hit the target, sending his strike over the crossbar.
The winning goal eventually arrived in the 88th minute as Masina controlled a long ball from Enrico Adolph inside the box before tucking the ball under Goldman and into the back of the net.
Chippa had a good chance to level matters deep into injury time when Twala floated a freekick into the box, but James Okwuosa sent his header wide of the post.
The result puts AmaZayoni in pole position with three points, while Santos and Chippa remain with one point each.
Mpumalanga Black Aces (0) 1 (Masina 88’)
Chippa United 0
Mpumalanga Black Aces: Nhlapo, Motaung, Adolph, Ngalo, Rooi, Zuke, Mmuso (Masina 87’), Mosikidi, Mtsweni, Sibisi (Hills 65’), Qalinge
Chippa United: Goldman, Gilbert, Tomanyane, Mvalo, Okwuosa, Sarr, Amegnaglo (Shumana 46’), Twala, Mwaruwari (Qalanto 56’), Dlamini (Mabizela 71’), Mbekile