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Mbombela Stadium
04/12/2013 19:30

Barker holds the Aces as Sundowns crash

Posted: 4 December 2013 Time: 19:13

Mpumalanga Black Aces shocked log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in their League match at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Brazilians had come into the fixture in fine form and leading the standings, but were undone by an early goal scored by Clifford Mulenga – in for the injured Mabhuti Khenyeza – and the brilliance of Aces goalie Bafana Nhlapo.

The presence of Downs playmaker Khama Billiat due to injury was also clear for all to see, with his replacement Esrom Nyandoro not the creative force that his countryman is.

The match started at a frantic pace as Ofentse Nato headed Omar Hendricks’ free-kick over the bar early on, before Cuthbert Malajila stung the palms of Nhlapo with a stinging drive which the goalie did well to parry to safety.

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Sundowns were dominating possession in the early stages, but against the run of play the hosts scored the opener. They broke from the back and the ball fell to Thabo Qalinge, who chipped over a defender before brilliantly releasing Mulenga, who side-footed past Kennedy Mweene.

Mulenga almost had another a minute later. The Zambian ran at Alje Schut and created the smallest of openings, allowing him to fire in a shot which hit the upright before falling to Mweene.

After that it was all Sundowns though as they attacked like a tsunami, only to be denied by Nhlapo – and some poor finishing.

Teko Modise played a clever ball to Malajila who, rather than have a shot, opted to square to Katlego Mashego, who took too long and was closed down by OJ Mabizela.

Mashego almost made amends for that on 18 minutes when he beat two players down the left and took a shot from a tight angle, but Nhlapo was again up to the challenge.

The goalie had a rare lapse in concentration when he came out for a corner-kick and missed, but Rashid Sumaila and Schut collided at the back-post and the chance was lost. The captain was also replaced at half-time as a result.

Mabizela almost put the ball past his own keeper on the half-hour mark when Modise’s freekick went off his head and drifted inches wide, before Tebogo Langerman fired straight at the keeper after a nice one-two on the edge of the area.

Sumaila had two more chance just before the break, but a rocket shot was parried to safety and another trickled past the upright.

Aces did a better job of containing the visitors after the break, though Modise came close to levelling matters on the hour-mark with a piledriver from 30 yards out – but again Nhlapo was up to the challenge.

Langerman also missed a gilt-edged chance on 70 minutes when Bryce Moon’s cross found him unmarked inside the area, but his touch was woeful and the chance was lost.

Sundowns kept dominating and asking all the questions, but without really creating another chance which would have worried Nhlapo.

In the end the Clive Barker’s men hung on for the famous win – one which moves them up to ninth place. Downs maintain their lead at the top though, but Pitso Mosimane will be kicking himself for an opportunity lost to extend their lead.

 

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