Golden Arrows boost top eight hopes

Golden Arrows gave a major boost to their hopes of a top-eight finish in the Absa Premiership with a 3-1 win over already-relegated Platinum Stars at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A brace from Knox Mutizwa was the driving force behind the victory for Abafana Bes’thende, who move into seventh place on the log and have mathematically guaranteed that they will not be drawn into the relegation playoffs.

Arrows made a bright start to the match, but it was Stars who nearly claimed an early goal, with Wangu Gome getting in behind the hosts’ defence in the ninth minute only to see his effort rebound off the upright.

The Durban side responded with a good chance of their own on the quarter hour mark, as Danny Venter teed up Knox Mutizwa, but he was denied by a fine save from Mbongeni Mzimela.

Yet the Zimbabwean attacker would not be denied in the 18th minute, as he got on the end of a right-wing cross and headed the ball beyond the Stars goalkeeper to put Arrows 1-0 up.

On the half-hour mark Abafana Bes’thende doubled their lead, with Danny Venter finding himself in space and getting away a shot which had the beating of Mzimela – the second goal arrived after a prolonged spell of pressure.

A frantic end to the first half saw both teams strike the woodwork in quick succession, but Arrows deserved their two-goal lead at the interval.

Dikwena came out fighting in the second stanza, with the early introduction of Bongi Ntuli giving their attack a focal point and more impetus, and a couple of minutes before the hour mark they pulled a goal back through defender Enocent Mkhabela.

Yet any hope Stars had of avoiding defeat were dashed in the 80th minute when Mutizwa completed his brace with a fine finish to make it 3-1 and seal the victory for Abafana Bes’thende.

Dikwena still had time to pull one more goal back in the dying seconds, as Gift Sithole capitalised from a goal-mouth scramble, but it wasn’t enough to stave off a 16th loss for the Rustenburg side.

Golden Arrows (2) 3 (Mutizwa 18’ 80’, Venter 30’)

Platinum Stars (0) 2 (Mkhabela 58’, Sithole 90+3’)

Arrows: Mbeava, Mzava, Mathiane, Mngwenge, Nonyane, Phiri, Venter (Mahachi 60’), Magubane (Buthelezi 65’), Ndwandwe, Shongwe (Bilankulu 79’), Magubane, Mutizwa

Stars: Mzimela, Mere, Sithole, Mkhabela, Mpeta (Tshabangu 67’), Senne (Ntuli 53’), Gome (Ng’ambi 74’), Baloyi, Phiri, Mekoa, Koapeng