Bloemfontein - Mpumalanga Black Aces beat Free State Stars 3-2 in a pulsating Absa Premiership clash at Goble Park adding further worries onto the shoulders of relegation threatened Stars.
Aces goalkeeper Bafana Nhlapo made a number of stunning saves to deny Stars who had several goal scoring chances throughout the game, while the fans got their money’s worth thanks to some fine goals, especially Moeketsi Sekola and Thabo Qalinge’s strikes.
Themba Zwane missed the first chance of the game when he got into a one-on-one with Ayanda Mtshali in the opening five minutes and tried to place his shot, but Mtshali saved with his legs.
In the 14th minute Bafana Nhlapo made a great save to deny the home side a free kick that was powered in at goal by Richard Henyekane. From the resultant corner kick Nhlapo bravely punched away the danger.
Stars came close to the opener in the 19th minute when the impressive Luyolo Nomandela swung in a deep cross to Danny Venter at the back post, Venter took his time to fire a shot at goal, and Nhalpo tipped the ball onto the upright and gathered the rebound.
Aces came close in the 35th minute when they broke through on goal but Miguel Timm could not keep his attempt down and the ball flew over the bar.
Three minutes later and Nhlapo was called into action to tip the ball over the bar following Camaldine Abraw’s close range header.
On the stroke of halftime Nhlapo made another excellent save at the far post to slap the ball away following Paulus Masehe’s back post attempt.
Directly after the halftime break, Moeketsi Sekola unleashed a powerful strike past the impressive Nhlapo which found the top right corner and put Ea Lla Koto ahead. A great finish.
But within eight minutes Aces were level when Miguel Timm powered into the danger area to connect with a pulled back cross from Tendai Ndoro and drive his shot past Mtshali.
In the 57th minute Henyekane looked to have put Stars ahead again, but Thabang Rooi cleared his attempt off the goal line.
The game exploded into life in the 60th minute with chances coming thick and fast. Henyekane got another very good chance in the 67th minute, but when he tried to place his shot he never managed to get power or direction behind the ball.
Then Aces took the lead when Zamuxolo Ngalo reacted quickest to control and fire the ball past Mtshali at a corner kick following a goalmouth scramble.
Abraw had the ball in the back of the net in the 80th minute, but he it was correctly ruled out for offside.
Then in a moment of brilliance Thabo Qalinge unleashed a stinging shot that curled into the back of Mtshali’s net to make it 3-1 to Aces.
But a minute later, Stars pulled a goal back to make it 3-2 when substitute Basit Adam struck a first time volley past Nhlapo’s right hand.
The match ended in frantic fashion with the home side throwing everything forward to try and find an equalising goal, but it was not to be.