Amabhubesi gain confidence going into play-offs second leg

2010-03-18 00:00

NATHI Lions will go into the second leg of the promotional play-offs next Wednesday with an abundance of confidence after their impressive comeback to hold Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-2 at Puma Rugby Stadium, Witbank, last night.

Durban-based Lions had gone 2-0 down inside 10 minutes as the hosts attacked the match like a house on fire in this action-filled encounter.

Coach Mlungisi “Professor” Ngubane will have his work cut out in reshaping his defence.

Shoddy defending and goalkeeping gifted Aces two goals by striker Mpho Maleka in the second and ninth minutes.

But Lions were not deterred easily as they regrouped. Wingers Manelisi Gomoshe and Chris Makhoba were a thorn in the side of the Aces defence.

Their efforts paid off when former Kaizer Chiefs and Aces man Songwe Chalwe profited from a corner to reduce the deficit in the 15th minute.

Amabhubesi, as Lions are affectionately known, almost levelled matters in the 28th minute as midfielder Enver Witner’s long-range shot beat keeper Energy Mumbandoro, but could only hit the cross- bar, clearing Aces of danger for the time being.

Midfielder Lungelo Makhanya wasted a glorious chance to put his side on level terms when he miscued his shot following a square pass from Gomoshe.

Lions’ persistence finally paid off when skipper Nhlanhla Mncube connected with a head from a corner kick by Chris Makhoba two minutes from half-time.

Both sides wasted good chances to increase the goals in the second half. Instead of staying at the back to preserve the lead, Lions took the game to the hosts.

It was clear the plan was to get as many goals as they could so that they have an advantage going into the second leg in Durban next Wednesday.

Aces looked thin upfront in the absence of Zambian international Clifford Mulenga, who strangely has been told not to report for camp afterthe management questioned his commitment.

Earlier in the day, Black Leopards increased their chances of gaining promotion with an emphatic 4-0 win over African Warriors at Tshifulanani Stadium in Limpopo.

The second leg matches are set for next Wednesday.

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