Aces into top half after narrow win

Mpumalanga Black Aces moved into the top half of the Absa Premiership standings for the first time this season with a narrow 1-0 win over Golden Arrows at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A first half strike from Eddie Ngalo was enough for AmaZayoni to move, temporarily at least, into eighth place on nine points from eight matches played. Arrows drop to the bottom of the standings having suffered a fifth defeat from seven fixtures.

After a scrappy opening to the match, Aces had the first shot in anger 10 minutes into the first half. Onyekachi Okonkwo tried his hand from a direct free kick, but sent his effort over the crossbar.

In the 21st minute Okonkwo managed to get a long range shot on target, but Golden Arrows goalkeeper Siya Mngoma made a comfortable save. Shortly thereafter Arrows’ Vuyisile Ntombayithethi was handed the first yellow card for a late challenge on Thabo Qalinge.

Aces opened the scoring in the 34th minute through Eddie Ngalo. Zambian attacker Clifford Mulenga provided the assist for Ngalo, who was able to direct a right-footed shot beyond the reach of Mngoma to make it 1-0.

Abafana Bes’thende began the second half by introducing Jabulani Nene off the bench in place of Lucky Nguzana, but it did little to improve their attacking play. In fact, scoring chances were few and far between the in the second half.

Both sides struggled to find a rhythm in their play in the second stanza, and as a result the goalkeepers were generally underemployed. The only real hint at a second goal in the game came from Aces substitute Esau Mtsweni, who shot over the crossbar in the 88th minute.

MP Black Aces (1) 1 (Ngalo 34’)

Golden Arrows 0

Teams:

Mpumalanga Black Aces: Nhlapo, Mabaso, Hendricks, Rooi, Ngalo, Nato, Zwane (Tukane 73’), Ngobeni (Masina 59’), Qalinge, Okonkwo, Mulenga (Mtsweni 79’)

Golden Arrows: Mngoma, Ntombayithethi, D. Zwane, Sithole, Tom, Shange (Mlotshwa 76’), Khuboni, Sikhakhane, Bester (Wadwaba 62’), Nguzana (Nene 46’), Ntuli