Cape Town - Penalty shootout strikes by Thanduyise Khuboni, Zamuxolo Ngalo and Bhongolethu Jayiya were enough to hand Mpumalanga Black Aces the 3-2 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in the Telkom Knockout Cup Last 16 match held at Free State Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane was voted the man of the match as he saved three Celtic penalties from skipper Bevan Fransman, Geoffrey Massa and Musa Bilankulu as they booked a spot in the quarter finals of the tournament.
Both sides were hungry for cup football and the match started on a high but it was the hosts who first attacked AmaZayoni, Their defence manned by the likes of Vincent Kobola and Zamuxolo Ngalo was stable however.
The first 10 to 20 minutes of the match could not produce fireworks but the in-form Collins Mbesuma made efforts to find an opener for Muhsin Ertugral’s men when he saw his shot going wide of the target in the 33rd minute.
As both sides looked for an early goal in the opening half, Keagan Buchanan also saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Mabokgwane in the 37th minute and in the 40th minute, Mbesuma again tried a shot at goal but Tignyemb saved it when he got his foot on the ball.
Just ten minutes into the second stanza, Alfred Ndengane took a shot and the ball was parried by Mabokgwane who made a brilliant save.
Celtic coach Clinton Larsen took off Helder Pelembe and introduced Geoffrey Massa and the Ugandan saw his shot parried by Mabokgwane in the 77th minute.
With just one minute to go in the regulation time, Lebogang Mamyama’s attempt flew over the cross bar after he was unmarked in the box.
The first half of extra time failed to produce sparks as both sides showed some fatigue, but it was Aces who nearly grabbed an opener in the 100th minute when a set piece from the right by Jayiya failed to meet the intended target as Mbesuma arrived late in the box with the ball going astray across the face of the goal.
As early as the beginning of the second half of extra time, Mabokgwane managed to keep Aces in the game as he saved Lerato Lamola’s shot from inside the box.
Celtic proved to be too strong for the visitors when they continuously kept Ertugral’s men under pressure and skipper Bevan Fransman unleashed a long range shot but the former Bidvest Wits keeper was again stable between the posts.
The match then went to penalties with Aces holding their nerve to claim victory.