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  • 18 March 2014
  • • 19:30
  • • Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
  • Referee: V. Hlungwani
  • • Attendance: 8000

Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-1 Orlando Pirates: Aces into the top eight

Mpumalanga Black Aces 1-1 Orlando Pirates: Aces into the top eight

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Sifiso Myeni's strike was cancelled out by Zamuxolo Ngalo, as MP Black Aces and Orlando Pirates played to an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday night

Mpumalanga Black Aces came into this encounter with an impressive home record of six wins, four draws and just one loss in their 11 home games so far this season, while Orlando Pirates were looking to avoid the repeat of last weekend's disappointment, where they lost 1-0 to Kazier Chiefs.

The home side took time to settle as Pirates kept possession in the early stages of the game, but they had a decent shot on target inside the opening 10 minutes through Thabo Qalinge, who forced Senzo Meyiwa to a fine save.

Mpho Makola's left-footed effort came off the woodwork in the 13th-minute with Jackson Mabokgwane well beaten by the former Free State Stars midfielder, who played just behind lone striker Lennox Bacela.

Kethokwakhe Masuku made a brilliant run into the Aces' box towards the 20th-minute, but his shot was fantastically punched away by Mabokgwane as Pirates looked to take an early lead.

The Buccaneers finally got the opener in the 23rd-minute through Sifiso Myeni, who turned home Bacela's well played cross from close range to make their statement.

However, their excitement was cut short as Zamuxolo Ngalo made it 1-1 just after the half-hour mark following Thabo Qalinge's brilliant display inside the Pirates' box.

That goal brought Aces back into the game, but they were unable to punish their opponents as Pirates often looked very sloppy at the back.

Clive Barker's charges started the second half with more intent, and had two shots at goal in the space of five minutes immediately after the restart, but none of their attempts could trouble Meyiwa.

Abia Nale wasted a great chance to put AmaZayoni in the lead toward the hour-mark, after a brilliant through ball played behind the Pirates' defence by Onyekachi Okonkwo, but the former Golden Arrows attacker missed the target from inside the penalty area.

Substitute Kermit Erasmus pulled the trigger from outside the box in the 64th-minute, but his shot went inches wide although Mabokgwane seemed to have it covered. 

On 76 minutes, Erasmus fired again from distance, but Mabokgwane was in the right place to make a terrific stop. At this stage, both teams were struggling to keep possession and often took shots from range.

Ayanda Gcaba had his powerful header cleared off the line by Sandile Zuke with less than five minutes remaining, but it was Aces who had a few good chances to stun Pirates later in the game.