It was almost laughable as AmaZayoni pushed the self-destruct button and played what the Europeans would call, a "shocker". The match was delayed for 30 minutes as the markings on the field had to be redone.
Sivutsa were at Aces’ mercy and played three quarters of the match with 10-men. Aces missed untold chances, some as close as 1 meter, only to balloon the ball over the bar. The horror-of-horrors was when Ace Bhengu calmly hashed a penalty and sent it into row "X" of the Rand Stadium.
It was a sad site watching the owners and directors, whom have put so much into the team, including massive bonuses for yesterday’s game, trudge out of the stadium in a state of near shock.
It was also very evident that some of the players "hearts" are not with the club and watching both Ayanda Lubelo and Roger Majafa "schlep" off the park, when they were substituted, shows the lack of character amongst our players. There was no back slapping or "well-done" as is common in a team sport. Virtually the entire squad of non-playing players, didn’t even bother to come and support their team mates – and that just shows the lack of courtesy and respect of a professional modern day athlete.
The game started with Sivutsa swarming all over Aces and their mini army of fans were very vocal and provided for a nice atmosphere. It was good to see the return of Eddie Williams and he played his usual solid game, albeit from a deep defensive midfield position.
Roger Majafa and Thabang Motau combined well and did take the initial ascendancy away from a confident looking Sivutsa.
Ex Aces big man, Madoda Motha, was a constant thorn for AmaZayoni and his long range effort was the first shot on goal in the 7th minute.
Mokete Tsotetsi and David Kannemeyer had their hands full, however both came out of the game with a tick against their name.
Aces fluffed two chances in the 13th minute, first when Linekar did all the hard work, broke through and with just the keeper to beat – couldn’t pull the trigger. Bhengu missed a volley from the resulting corner.
Two minutes later, Linekar Mwiikisa, who had a decent game, again outstripped the defence and his powerful shot just went wide.
The opening 15 minutes was a very open game with the visitors "by far" looking the more dangerous – however it looked as if they ran out of "puff" and the remaining first half action was all Aces.
Ace Bhengu, who had loads of chances to score, was unlucky in the 21st minute when his shot from point-blank range was cleared off the line.
In the 31st minute Tsotetsi brought down a player which resulted in James Madidilani being hacked down and ultimately off the park. The resulting free kick saw Bhengu drop from the wall and the linesman signalled that he had been elbowed. End result was the sending off of their number 3 and Aces now had both possession and a numerical advantage.
Linekar brought out a great save in the 37th minute and the rebound was just hit wide by Bhengu.
Aces went into halftime looking the better team – and those us in the grandstand were quietly confident of AmaZayoni overwhelming the Nelspruit team in the second half
Aces continued to dominate and just found their last touch lacking.
Mmotong replaced Ayanda Lubelo in the 54th minute, as he has now done in the last three games, and the experienced Koketso immediately made an impact when he skinned his opponent but his cross was poorly hit.
The game was crying out for a playmaker and Director Khanyile was introduced for Roger Majafa, who up until then had been having a very good game.
Linekar, who must be complimented for showing a sense of urgency, cleverly rounded his man and was clipped from behind. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and Bhengu took the responsibility. It was a big move and should he have scored, Aces would have not only won the game, but they would be out of the relegation zone.
One of the biggest sins when taking a penalty is to miss the mark. . . . and that’s precisely what happened, as the ball travelled over the crossbar.
Panic had set in and Aces were completely dominant in the last 10 minutes and resorted to shooting from distance. Sivutsa have to be complimented for their outstanding defence and had it not been for a wonderfully agile save from Vusi Gwanya, who came out a full 30 yards and threw his body at the bouncing ball, they could of "pulled the robbery" of the season.
Aces will have to regroup and have a difficult mid-week fixture against play-off hopefuls, Vasco. They will have to do it without Ayanda Lubel and Felix Musasa, who both collected their third yellow card. James Madidilani limped off and maybe doubtful while Marawaan Bantam remains injured.
The final thought is that the players must now start taking responsibility and this being the 5th draw in succession, means that the club which has 75 years of heritage, is in a precarious position.
Gwanya, Madidilani (Musasa 36’), Tsotetsi, Kannemeyer, Mohlaka, Majafa (Khanyile 69’), Williams, Lubelo (Mmotong 55’), Bhengu, Motau, Mwiikisa
Bench: Gindre (RGK), Maleka, Nozozo, Tlhomelang