Absa Premiership

Aces up for title challenge

2014-10-22 11:36
Jackson Mabokgwane (mpblackaces.co.za)

Johannesburg - With another victory under the belt, Mpumalanga Black Aces intend to put up a worthy fight in the race for the Premiership title, goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane has warned.

Mabokgwane was named Man of the Match in his side's 2-1 win over Orlando Pirates in Nelspruit on Tuesday night, producing fine saves in the second half to deny Kermit Erasmus and Thabo Qalinge.

"We just play every game the same way. We don't plan for any team a special way because every game is three points," Mabokgwane said.

"But the coach (Clive Barker) told us, 'If you win this game you're going to go up the log and challenge'. People said he was crazy, but we love the coach, he encourages us and we're happy to have him."

Aces stretched their unbeaten run to six straight league matches, climbing from ninth place in the standings to second position, though they remained nine points behind runaway leaders Kaizer Chiefs, while Pirates dropped to third place ahead of the remaining midweek fixtures on Wednesday evening.

"There's no pressure for us. We'll just keep doing what we're doing," Mabokgwane said.

"A lot of guys are coming into the team, Valery Nahayo came in and did exceptionally well, and this was only my second game for the team (after an injury layoff), so we're starting to gel. It takes time but we'll start challenging soon."

Barker praised his side for another impressive display in a hard-fought contest, as they continued their run of form.

"It was a thrill a minute, a great game. Credit to both teams and to the officials who let it flow," Barker said.

"I think we had a lot of great chances, but they did too, and I just think for the people who turned up here tonight, what a good advert for our football.

"I'm so proud of my team for the quality of football they're delivering. I think it's fantastic."

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