By Sports Focus Repoter
A seven goal thriller in Witbank saw MP Black Aces beat Witbank Spurs 4-3 in a last 16 match at the Puma Rugby Stadium on Sunday afternoon and move into the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.
The first 45 minutes saw Aces dominating the possession stakes and dictating terms on the field of play, but still they had to come from a goal behind to go into the half time break in front.
The Premier League team applied pressure on the Spurs goal from the first whistle, but clear cut chances on goal were few and far between for them.
The home side, on the other hand, were not really in the game as they struggled to get hold of the ball. When they were in possession they opted for long range shooting, but with very little success.
The first real opportunity for Aces to score came in the 14th minute when David Mathebula supplied a beautiful through ball for Makhanya to run onto. But the former Orlando Pirates man squandered the chance, taking one touch too many which allowed the Spurs defence to get back and block his ten-yard shot.
Then in the 20th minute the game was turned on its head when the referee adjudged goalkeeper, Nicolas Gindre, to have dragged down Spurs’ Ralph Malema inside the box.
Malema stepped up to the spot and confidently slotted to the penalty kick to give his side the lead against the run of play, 1-0.
That quickly sparked Aces into life and consequently Spurs lead only lasted eight minutes. Joseph Henyekane whipped in a free-kick from the right side of the field and Mpho Maleka rose highest to head home from six-yards out, levelling the scores, 1-1.
After going in front courtesy of a dubious penalty decision, the wind had clearly been knocked from Spurs sails and they found themselves a goal behind two minutes before the half time whistle.
Marawaan Bantam scored a spectacular free-kick goal from 25-yards out when he curled the ball around the defensive wall and into the top left hand corner of the net, 2-1.
The second stanza started a little slowly as both teams looked a little jaded, but the half soon sprang into life when Myron Shongwe almost found his side’s third goal in the 62nd minute.
Shongwe struck the ball from the edge of the 18-yard area with the outside of his boot. His shot had the keeper beaten, but he was denied the goal by the woodwork as his effort struck the crossbar.
Then four minutes later Spurs caught the Aces defence napping when they found their second goal of the game. Patrick Mubayiwa rose highest at a set-piece to head his side level from ten-yards out, 2-2.
Spurs joy, however, was shorted lived as Aces took the lead once again only two minutes later.
Makhanya played a great long pass to an unmarked Maleka inside the box. The Aces captain then showed some great composure with a clinical finish from eight yards out to give his side the lead, 3-2.
Maleka then looked to put the result beyond doubt when he grabbed his side’s fourth goal in the 75th minute.
Bantam supplied a good cross from the left to find Maleka inside the box and he produced another cool finish, side footing the ball home from the edge of the six-yard area, 4-2.
Still, Spurs were not going to go down without a fight and they really made a game of it when they pulled one back three minutes later. Again some sloppy defending by Aces allowed Peter Mubayiwa to latch onto a loose ball inside the box and fire the ball home, 4-3.
That made for a frantic last ten minutes but in the end Spurs were able to hold onto their lead and move into the last eight of the Nedbank Cup competition.
Witbank Spurs (1) 3 (Malema 21’, Patrick Mubayiwa 66’, Peter Mubayiwa 78’)
MP Black Aces (2) 4 (Maleka 29’, 68’ + 75’, Bantam 43’)
Spurs: De Villiers; Tsheala, Mthimkulu, Khoza, Maseko, Peter Mubayiwa, Papa (Ngunyule 79’), Patrick Mubayiwa, Zwane (Shelembe 65’), Gamede (Tau 57’), Matema
Aces: Gindre; Mbatha (Madidilani 92’), Bishop, McCarthy, Henyekane, Makhanya, Bantam, Mathebula, Masonda (Zuke 80’), Shongwe (Ngwenya 90’), Maleka