Johannesburg - Mpumalanga Black Aces had their experience to thank for helping them advance to the quarter-finals of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge after beating AmaZulu 3-1 at the Bedfordview Country Club on Sunday.
Though AmaZulu scored first through captain Rudzaih Gameldien, it was the experience of Aces that came through for them. Veteran midfielder Dennis Masina, who has over a decade in top flight football, scored one and created one during the match dominated by Aces.
Strikers Bongolethu Jayiya and Darren Lurie were responsible for two other goals.
Aces bossed things in the first half but they went a goal down in the 32nd minute.
AmaZulu midfielder Gameldien was played through by Mhlengi Sithole and he latched onto the ball and fired AmaZulu ahead with a shot from an acute angle. Only the score line changed as Aces remained in charge with countless attacks.
Things fell apart for AmaZulu at the stroke of the first half, with Aces forcing their way back into the game.
In the 44th minute Jayiya, erstwhile Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United player, equalised. Masina was the instigator. The former SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates man weaved his magic skillfully in the middle of the park, eliminating few players before releasing Jayiya with a flawless pass. He made no mistake as he looped the ball over advancing keeper Siya Mngoma.
A minute later, Aces’ ecstasy was poised to go higher when enterprising Aces leftback Aubrey Modiba darted down the left and he put in a superb cross for Lurie, who was unmarked inside the box. The former Moroka Swallows striker controlled well and blasted a shot past Mngoma.
Aces ruled in the second half as well. With midfield maestro Miguel Timm controlling the midfield, Jayiya, Masina and Thabo Nodada tormenting Usuthu defence, AmaZulu were second best in all departments.
Aces added another goal in the 60th minute and this time Masina was the scorer.
Modiba was up to his usual business as he sliced his way through AmaZulu players. The South African youth international located Masina inside the box and the Swazi international fired past a bemused Mngoma.
All Aces keeper Cyril Mollo had to do was to take goal kicks as the side from KwaZulu Natal hardly threatened.
Aces finished in position four of Group B while AmaZulu’s campaign ended without a single win in the competition.