Aces end Wits title dream
Posted: 3 May 2016 Time: 19:03
Mpumalanga Black Aces scored a late equaliser to deny Bidvest Wits the three points they needed to stay in the Absa Premiership title race at Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday night.
Thabo Nodada (pictured below) gave Aces the lead in the eighth minute, sweeping home the finish confidently at the far post under no pressure following good work down the right flank by Bryce Moon.
Wits hit back in the 34th minute in fine style. Daine Klate picked out Sibusiso Vilakazi with a pinpoint pass after cutting in from the right flank and 'Vila' looped a classy header back over Jackson Mabokgwane into the opposite corner.
The game was open in the first 45 minutes with both sides creating openings. Both Collins Mbesuma for Aces and Joaquim Lupeta for Wits missed great headed chances from close to the six-yard line, both players missing the target. Vilakazi also had a couple of volleyed attempt go wide.
At the start of the second half Wits looked like they switched gears and started to dominate in possession and pressure, with Mabokgwane needing to be alert to produce a fine reflex save to keep out a powerful Lupeta shot after good work by Elias Pelembe down the right.
Gavin Hunt's side continued their pressure on Aces, who started playing deeper and on the counter, but the final ball was always lacking. Lupeta had another chance from a cross but could not get proper contact on a diving header.
But Wits' pressure slacked at around 70 minutes and Aces started to look more dangerous on the counter, with Nazeer Allie and Buhle Mkhwanazi needing to get back to make excellent last-ditch challenges to keep the scores level.
The Clever Boys then scored what looked to be a brilliant winning goal as Klate slipped a clever ball through to Vilakazi to emphatically seal his brace. It was a fantastic move and finish, with Klate racking up his 15th assist of the season to create the goal.
But there was late drama as Eddie Ngalo's tap-in at the far post following a 90th-minute corner-kick spoiled the party. Substitute Sibusiso Masina rose at the near post to flick the ball on, and Ngalo ghosted in unmarked to effect the equaliser.
The result means Mamelodi Sundowns will win the league title if they beat University of Pretoria on Wednesday night.
HOME: Mpumalanga Black Aces
Coach: Muhsin Ertugral
AWAY: Bidvest Wits
Coach: Gavin Hunt