Aces stun Stars to reach Final


The game was played in a near torrential downpour, but was full of end-to-end action. Kabamba Musasa scored the only goal of the match on 60 minutes, while Stars finished the encounter with 10 men after the sending-off of Kampamba Chintu with 10 minutes remaining.

Aces become the first lower division side to reach the final of South Africa’s FA Cup since Pretoria City lost 3-2 to Cape Town Spurs in 1995, but the first of the PSL era.

Aces started well, with former Kaizer Chiefs striker Musasa in the thick of the action, but his header from a corner flashed wide.

At the other end, Jimmy Kauleza’s first-time shot from the right forced an excellent save from Aces goalkeeper Michael Babale, the man at the centre of the match-fixing controversy involving FC AK.

The exciting Thulasizwe Mbuyane found space for himself with an excellent turn and run on 20 minutes, but his placed shot went just wide of the right-hand upright of Babale’s goal.

Another recent Bafana Bafana cap for Stars, Sthembiso Ngcobo, had the best chance of the first half when he found himself through on goal, but his chip over the onrushing goalkeeper slipped wide of the target.

Diyo Sibisi’s excellent play on the right almost set-up Ngcobo for a tap-in from six yards, but Babale managed to get a hand to the ball, at the same time injuring the striker, who was substituted after failing to recover.

But Aces took the lead on the hour-mark through Musasa. Stars were dominating the game, but were caught on the counter-attack as midfielder Essau Mtsweni delivered a cross from the left and an unmarked Musasa powered the ball past a helpless Kennedy Mweene in the Stars goal.

Stars should have been level on 70 minutes when a brilliant run from Kauleza saw the striker beat three defenders, before laying the ball on to the onrushing Duncan Lechesa, whose shot was expertly saved by Babale.

Kauleza followed up to shoot from the rebound, and again Babale was on hand to save. When the ball finally fell to Mbuyane, it looked certain the midfielder would score, but with a gapping net, he ballooned his shot high over the crossbar.

And it didn’t look like Stars’ day when Aces defender Gordon Gilbert cleared off the line from Collins Chabalala after the big forward was set-up by Sibisi.

And things went from bad to worse for Stars when defender Chintu received a red card as the last defender for bringing down Emmanuel Emenike.

It meant the Premiership side played the final 10 minutes with 10 men and they couldn’t find the breakthrough to get back on level terms.