A trend of away wins in the South African League Cup continued Wednesday when Mpumalanga Black Aces and Free State Stars reached the quarter-finals.
Aces continued to impress under new coach Neil Tovey by coming from behind at rain-lashed Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto to triumph 3-1 against erratic Moroka Swallows. Zambian Chivuta was the toast of Stars as he scored the only goal of a clash against Ajax Cape Town two minutes into stoppage time at Athlone Stadium in the Mother City.
Title holders Kaizer Chiefs Mamelodi Sundowns, Maritzburg United, Orlando Pirates and Santos won on the road last weekend while SuperSport United were the only first-round hosts to celebrate.
Swallows have made a mixed start to the season under veteran German coach Rainer Zobel, reaching the Top 8 Cup final where they fell to Pirates after a penlty shootout while collecting a solitary point from five league outings. The 'Birds' took an early lead over Aces through fringe national-squad defender Keegan Ritchie only for Marawaan Bantam to equalise late in the opening half by heading past Nigerian goalkeeper Greg Etafia.
Superb Vusiwe Masondo crosses from the left set up volleyed second-half goals for official man of the match Lindokhule Mbatha and Mpho Maleka as Aces continue to prosper under Tovey.
Captain of the South Africa 1996 African Nations Cup-winning team, Tovey recently took over Aces from the eastern mining town of Witbank and they are unbeaten in three games having shocked Pirates in the league seven days ago. Free State are coached by Steve Komphela, skipper of the national team when they returned to international football in 1992 after almost three decades of apartheid-induced isolation.