Stellenbosch - Mamelodi Sundowns, Polokwane City and Black Aces registered victories in their MultiChoice Diski Challenge matches at the Coetzenburg Stadium in Stellensbosh, Cape Town on Sunday.
The last match of the day between Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows ended in a 1-1 draw, with both sides imposing themselves during attack, according to the supersport.com website.
It was because of the brilliance of the goalkeepers Brandon Petersen and Sinethemba Mnisi that the match was drawn.
Sundowns fought back from a goal down to edge Free State Stars 2-1 and went second in group Group B, as Aces claimed the top spot after their 3-2 win over Chippa United.
Polokwane edged SuperSport United 1-0 in the second match of the day, Polokwane are now joint top with Kaizer Chiefs, who also won by the same score line against Maritzburg United in Durban.
The third match between Aces and Chippa produced five goals in the first half, with Darren Lurie scoring the first brace of the tournament. The Mpumalanga side benefited from the experience of Denis Masina and Tshidiso Tukane.
Stars took the lead in the first half against Sundowns through Mlungisi Mbunjane, who beat the offside trap and put the ball past goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni.
Sundowns took long to get their passing game going, but once they got it right, they found the equaliser via the boot of Thamsanqa Masiya in the 67th minute.
Bonginkosi Ntuli ensured that the Brazilians claim all three points when he netted late in the second half, capitalising on goalkeeper Tebogo Mpoyana’s mistake, who failed to hold onto the ball.
Polokwane’s persistence finally paid off through Ayanda Lubelo’s brilliant effort when he dribbled past United’s defenders before beating goalkeeper Dumisani Msibi.
United failed to convert the numerous chances they got despite being led by a strong strike-force in Ryan Chapman and Andile Fikizolo.
Msibi, who was voted man-of-the match, denied Polokwane on a number of occasions. He was assisted by the strong defence pairing of Roscoe Petersen and Brandon Dean, unfortunately their teammates found it difficult to break their opponents on the other end.
Polokwane were guilty of missing countless chances in the second half as Mothusi Gopane, Bongani Nxumalo and Lubelo found themselves in good scoring positions.
The third match had a feast of goals with Aces taking the lead in the 4th minute through man-of-the-match Lurie, Chippa got the equaliser in the 10th minute with a cool finish from left-back Ayanda Yake.
Masina restored Aces’ lead when Tshepo Motsoeneng failed to deal with a corner and the midfielder lobbed the ball over a defender before putting it into the back of the net. Lurie completed his brace later in the half to give Aces a 3-1 lead before Mzikayise Williams reduced the deficit when he scored a penalty before halftime.
Aces now top Group B after scoring a goal more than their rivals Sundowns and Pirates, who beat AmaZulu 1-0 in Durban last weekend.
The last match of the day finished 1-all as Ajax and Swallows were able to match each other in an entertaining clash. The first goal came in the 55th minute when Bantu Mzwakali put Ajax ahead with a cool finish inside the box. Striker Mike Motombe replied for the Birds four minutes later, scoring with an emphatic header from a Shere Lekgothoane’s cross.
Swallows’ youngsters were able to stand their ground against experienced campaigners Lance Davids, Franklin Cale and Dominic Isaacs – who were in the side as over-aged players for the Cape side.
Lekgothoane, Vuyisile Wana and Philani Cele also made their presence felt, posing danger when in attack. But they found the disciplined Urban Warriors side difficult to break, with few clear chances coming their way.
The MultiChoice Diski Challenge action continues on Wednesday in Pimville, Soweto – where all the 16 teams will be in action, with two matches playing simultaneously.
It promises to be a spectacle as the teams will be gunning for three points to avoid falling further behind on the standings.