Aces and Pirates share the spoils
Posted: 18 March 2014 Time: 18:55
Eddie Ngalo scored a crucial goal to help Mpumalanga Black Aces hold Orlando Pirates to a 1-1 Absa Premiership draw at Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Aces man did well to cancel out Sifiso Myeni’s opening goal in the 23rd minute as both teams had an equal share of opportunities to win the game.
Lennox Bacela was handed a rare start ahead of Kermit Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Majoro for Orlando Pirates, while Aces had to make do without the suspended Mabhuti Khenyeza.
The home side was the first to break into the opposition’s box when Tendai Ndoro tried to round Rooi Mahamutsa and go in on goal, but the ball was cleanly swept away by the Bucs defender.
Pirates’ first effort arrived in the 14th minute when Mpho Makola struck a powerful drive from 15-yards which skimmed the crossbar of Jackson Mabokagwane’s goal.
Just seconds later Khethowakhe Masuku cut in from the right flank and forced a brilliant save from the Aces ‘keeper, seeing him go at full stretch to push the ball away at the far post.
Pirates deservingly took the lead through Sifiso Myeni in the 23rd minute. Lennox Bacela did well to feed his teammate from the right flank and it saw Myeni beat the offside trap to tap home the opening goal. Themba Zwane was booked for protesting the goal as offside, but replays showed the strike was good.
Parity was restored ten minutes later through Zamuxolo Ngalo after Thabo Qalinge latched onto a free-kick and worked his way into the box. The latter sliced through a cross from the byline for Ngalo, who drilled home the equaliser after being left completely unmarked in the box.
Onyekachi Onkonkwo, who used to play for Pirates, ballooned his effort over the posts after the restart, before Bacela showed some great set of skill to feed through a ball to Masuku, but that was ultimately cleared.
It should have been 2-1 to Aces just before the hour mark when Okonkwo thread a pass through to Abia Nale, but he disappointingly failed to finish with his favoured left foot.
With 20 minutes to spare, substitute Kermit Erasmus attempted to score the match-winning strike with a thunderous shot form 30-yards out, but the ‘keeper made a good save.
The only real urgency in closing stages of the game came in the shape of a Pirates header which was cleared off the line by Sandile Zuke, as neither team could find a match-winning strike.