Maritzburg United down Mpumalanga Black Aces
Posted: 7 January 2011 Time: 22:07
Diyo Sibisi struck just before the hour mark to hand Maritzburg United a vital 1-0 win over Mpumalanga Black Aces at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday evening, a major boost to their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Absa Premiership.
AmaZayoni, however, have now lost six successive games and new coach Paul Dolezar could well find his tenure beginning with his team slumping to the bottom of the standings if last-placed Moroka Swallows avoid defeat in their match with Free State Stars on Saturday evening.
Both sides handed debuts to new signings right from the first whistle: Maritzburg fielded Gert Schalkwyk in midfield, while Aces started with Thabang Rooi, David Mathebula, Benedict Vilakazi and Lethola Mofokeng.
The home team dominated the early exchanges, with Schalkwyk and Rudolph Bester both trying their hands with long range efforts, though neither troubled Aces goalkeeper Francis Chansa.
However, on 20 minutes Chansa was forced into a terrific save to keep his side on level terms, tipping a shot from Maritzburg defender David Booysen over the crossbar.
Aces were forced into a first half change when Mathebula, making his first start of the season after warming the bench at Kaizer Chiefs, had his game ended prematurely with injury. Thokozane Khanyile came on as a substitute.
The first half ended with the teams locked at 0-0.
Aces very nearly broke the deadlock early in the second stanza, with Mpho Maleka hitting the post after meeting a fine cross from substitute right-back Thomrick October in the 53rd minute.
A short while later Fanyana Mokoena, making his debut for the Team of Choice after coming off the bench during the break, had a great chance to put the home side ahead but could only shoot straight at Chansa.
Yet United’s frustrations didn’t go on for much longer, as Diyo Sibisi opened the scoring in the 57th minute. The former Free State Stars, Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town striker pounced on a fine cross from attacking partner Bester and steered home a shot to make it 1-0.
The last half hour of the game saw Maritzburg up their game in an effort to get a second goal and kill off their opponents. They came close to doubling their lead in the 84th minute when Jabulani Ncubeni curled a free kick on target, but again Chansa was on hand to save Aces.