Mbombela - Goals from Lehlohonolo Nonyane and Dino Ndlovu took Black Aces to a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United in a Nedbank Cup last 32 clash at Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday.
Aces almost opened the scoring in the opening minute through Collins Mbesuma, but Virgil Vries pulled off a great save to deny the Zambian an early goal.
Maritzburg soon created a chance of their own for Thamsanqa Mkhize, but Lehlohonolo Nonyane cleared the striker’s effort off the goal line.
And the early attacks kept coming, as in the 12th minute great interplay between Mbesuma and Dino Ndlovu saw the latter handed a fine chance, only for Vries to make another excellent save.
Aces looked the more confident and creative of the two teams and they deservedly claimed the lead on 26 minutes when Nonyane curled home a perfectly-placed shot direct from a free kick just outside the box.
Maritzburg’s Mondli Cele and Deolin Mekoa had chances to level the game up before the break but goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane was equal to the task, while Ndlovu almost added to AmaZayoni’s advantage in injury time at the end of the first half.
The Team of Choice had a chance to equalise early in the second half when Philani Zulu found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he was unable to beat Mabokgwane from close range.
The visitors were made to pay for their spurned opportunities when Ndlovu doubled Aces’ lead on the hour mark with a superbly taken goal that saw him turn two defenders and fire the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Ndlovu was soon replaced by fellow Aces debutant Siyabonga Vilane, as the former SuperSport United striker is still working his way back to full fitness. However, the home fans were not happy to see his evening end so soon.
United kept fighting and gave themselves hope of a dramatic comeback when Ghanaian striker Mike Mohammed Anas pulled a goal back in the 75th minute, setting up a nervy final quarter hour.
However, the Team of Choice were hampered in their efforts to gain parity after midfielder Ryan De Jongh was sent off for a second bookable offence, allowing the hosts to see out the game and advance to the next round.
Black Aces (1) 2 (Nonyane 26’, Ndlovu 60’)
Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Anas 75’)
Black Aces: Mabokgwane, Mampuru (Kobola 49’), Nonyane, Gyimah, Gumede, Ngalo, Khuboni, Timm, Mbesuma (Modiba 82’), Ndoro, Ndlovu (Vilane 65’)
Maritzburg United: Vries, Moloto, P. Zulu, Paintsil (Sekotlong 74’), Vilakazi, De Jongh, Mkhize, Cele (Mandaza 66’), Booysen, Mekoa (Lentjies 69’), Anas