Cape Town - Eleazar Rodgers came from the bench to win the Bokone Bophirima Maize Challenge for Platinum Stars with a well taken header to hand Dikwena a 1-0 over Mpumalanga Black Aces in the final played at Moruleng Stadium.
The home team saw a lot of action with Masibusane Zongo in the thick of things, though they struggled to break Aces defence in search of goals.
It was Dikwena all the way during the opening exchanges of the match, but they failed to test AmaZayoni goalkeeper, Shu-Aib Walters, who was given the nod ahead of the other two goalkeepers.
AmaZayoni on the other hand were playing very deep and did not seem to be in a hurry to get goals.
They did however have a shot on goal with James Bell having an effort from outside the box, but failing to find the target.
Bell was later taken off and replaced by Bethuel Tukane, who seemed to bring some energy into Aces, as Muhsin Ertugral’s side played more attacking football towards the end of the first half.
The closest that Stars came to scoring was through Ndumiso Mabena in the 30th minute, though he headed a Gift Sithole’s cross wide.
Mabena was handed another chance from a long ball played by Tintswalo Tshabalala, but the striker failed to connect with the ball properly, as his effort went wide.
The game headed into the interval goalless.
The second half started at a slow pace and both teams struggled to create clear goal-scoring chances.
Lack of goals saw Dikwena bringing in Mduduzi Nyanda and Sibusiso Msomi and the duo seemed to breathe some life into Cavin Johnson’s side.
Nyanda then came very close to breaking the deadlock following a moment of brilliance, but missed the target.
The first goal of the match finally came as substitute Eleazar Rodgers, out-jumped the Aces defenders to put his team ahead with a well taken header from Gift Sithole’s cross in the 76th minute.
Ertugral reacted by bringing in experienced campaigners Collins Mbesuma and Aubrey Ngoma on, with a hope to get back to the game, but Dikwena held on to win the match 1-0 and clinch the Maize challenge, despite a late flurry from Aces.