Arrows win KZN derby

Knox Mutizwa © Backpagepix

Knox Mutizwa’s superb second-half strike helped Golden Arrows defeat KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United 2-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

The Zimbabwean and a late strike from Lerato Lamola ensured Abafana Bes’thende got their league campaign off to a great start, while the Team of Choice will look back on a game they dominated and feel they let three points slip through their fingers.

The teams effectively cancelled each other out in the opening quarter of the match, though Maritzburg did look dangerous whenever they could get Mxolisi Kunene one-on-one with Siyanda Zwane down their left flank.

On 26 minutes Arrows should have claimed the lead, as Danny Venter played a fine in-swinging cross into the danger zone from a free kick to find Danny Phiri unmarked just a couple of metres from goal, but the midfielder put his header over the target.

That proved to be the only major chance of a tightly-contested first 45 minutes, as the sides went into the break locked at 0-0.

The second half began with a fantastic save from Arrows’ goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede, who back-pedalled to claw away a looping header from Mohau Mokate which looked destined for the back of the net.

Gumede was in significant action again in the 57th minute, as a well-worked move from United saw Siphesihle Ndlovu tee-up midfield partner Fortune Makaringe with a great scoring chance, but he was denied by another fine stop from the ‘keeper.

It seemed only a matter of time until the Team of Choice claimed the lead, but they were stunned in the 71st minute by an early contender for goal of the season from Arrows’ Knox Mutizwa – the attacker controlled a cross with his chest before sending an acrobatic volley beyond the reach of Richard Ofori to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The hosts pushed hard for an equaliser and should have levelled the game on 87 minutes when Mokate’s knock-down found Ndlovu, but the midfielder sliced his shot wide of the target to spurn his side’s best chance of sharing the spoils.

Arrows took advantage of United’s efforts to push men forward at the death and Lerato Lamola made it 2-0 with a fine finish in the second minute of injury time.

Both Maritzburg and Arrows will be in league action again on Wednesday: the former is away to Free State Stars in Bethlehem, while the latter welcome Bloemfontein Celtic to the Princess Magogo Stadium.

Maritzburg United 0

Golden Arrows (0) 2 (Mutizwa 71’, Lamola 90+2’)

Maritzburg: Ofori, Sanoka, Xulu, De Reuck, Thlone (Mekoa 79’), Shandu, Makaringe, Ndlovu, Buchanan (Masegela 46’), Mokate, Kunene

Arrows: Gumede, Zwane (S. Dube 73’), Mngwengwe, Mzava, Lunga, Phiri, Molefe (Cele 61’), Venter, Mutizwa, Sabelo (Magubane 61’), Lamola