Caretaker coach Jacob Sakala guided Black Aces to a 2-1 win over Moroka Swallows in an Absa Premiership match at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
In AmaZayoni’s first match since Clive Barker was relieved of his duties as head coach, second-half goals from Collins Mbesuma and Edwin Gyimah secured their first league win of 2015 and ended a run of eight games without a victory.
The first chance of the match went Aces’ way, with striker Tendai Ndoro shooting just wide from a quick turn and shot on the edge of the penalty area in the sixth minute, though goalkeeper Greg Etafia seemed to have it covered.
Ten minutes later Swallows missed out on a good opportunity for Luvhengo Mungomeni. The defender had a free header from Lerato Chabangu’s free kick delivery, but only succeeded in putting his effort over the bar when it needed a more subtle glance to either side.
On the half hour mark the home side created another opening, this time for Bhongolwethu Jayiya, but the former Bidvest Wits attacker struck his effort high over the crossbar. Six minutes later Collins Mbesuma showed quick feet to turn and get a shot away from inside the 18-yard area, but he too was unable to trouble Etafia.
Swallows coach Fani Madida was clearly concerned by his side’s lack of threat up front and he looked to boost his side’s attack by withdrawing makeshift midfielder Ashraf Hendricks and putting on Vuyisile Wana, making the change in injury time at the end of the first half. Early in the second he introduced Dikgang Mabalane for Guilio Guricich.
Midway through the second half, Aces substitute Dino Ndlovu almost produced a goal out of nothing with a fiercely struck long range effort that forced a sharp save out of Etafia. The resultant corner kick saw Mbesuma hand the hosts the lead, with his shot from close range cleared by Mabalane, but not before it crossed the goal line.
The goal gave AmaZayoni an injection of confidence and they cut Swallows’ defence to ribbons a few minutes later to create a chance for Aubrey Ngoma to double their advantage, but he shanked his left-footed shot high and wide.
Swallows almost restored parity in the 77th minute when Chabangu powered a header on target, but goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane made a fine low save to prevent the ball crossing the line in his first major involvement of the match.
However, just two minutes later, the Bafana Bafana ‘keeper flapped at a corner kick delivery that was flicked beyond his reach by one of his own defenders and Rudi Isaacs arrived at the back post to head home for 1-1.
The score remained level for only a short while before Aces reclaimed the lead in the 81st minute. This time Onyekachi Okonkwo provided a perfect cross from the right flank that Edwin Gyimah powered home with a header, 2-1.
Ndlovu almost made it 3-1 in the 87th minute with another beautifully struck shot - this one had the beating of Etafia, but rebounded off the crossbar.
The result sees Aces move up two positions on the log to 11th on 26 points. They are now four points clear of Swallows, who remain second-last (15th) with 22 points, just five ahead of AmaZulu.
Black Aces (0) 2 (Mbesuma 68’, Gyimah 81’)
Moroka Swallows (0) 1 (Isaacs 79’)
Mpumalanga Black Aces: Mabokgwane, Kobola, Gyimah, Gumede, Nonyane, Jayiya (Ndlovu 53’), Okonkwo (Da Costa 84’), Ngalo, Ngoma, Ndoro, Mbesuma (Timm 79’)
Moroka Swallows: Etafia, Mungomeni, Cohen, Isaacs, Savic, Mandic, Baloyi, Hendricks (Wana 45+1’), Giuricich (Mabalane 48’), Chabangu, Obada (Tsutsulupa 61’).
* Report courtesy of www.supersport.com *