Maritzburg edge Arrows in thrilling KZN derby

Maritzburg United secured a 3-2 win over Lamontville Golden Arrows in a 2020-21 DStv Premiership match at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday afternoon.

The victory moved the Team of Choice up to 12th place on the league standings and closer to safety, while Abafana Bes'thende remain third after losing in the KwaZulu-Natal derby clash.

The Team of Choice began the match brightly with Thabiso Kutumela keeping the Abafana Bes'thende defence busy with his sharp movements in the visitors' half.

The Bafana Bafana international was denied by Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana, who made a decent save from the former's free-kick in the 10th minute.

Mlungwana was then beaten five minutes later after the visitors had failed to clear Ryan Rae's long throw-in and Tebogo Tlolane scored with a thunderous shot to make it 1-0 to Maritzburg.

The hosts pushed for their second goal after taking the lead with Kutumela delivering a cross for Bongokuhle Hlongwane, who hit the side-netting in the 28th minute.

Maritzburg were leading 1-0 at the interval having contained Arrows in the first half, and an enthralling second half followed.

Kutumela continued to torment the Abafana Bes'thende defence and the diminutive striker managed to get the goal he had been looking for three minutes before the hour-mark.

The former Orlando Pirates striker made it 2-0 to Maritzburg after he scored with a first-time shot from close range as he finished off a brilliant move that he had started, with Hlongwane grabbing the assist.

However, the hosts went to sleep at the back and Arrows pulled one back a minute later through Michael Gumede, who turned home a low cross from Nduduzi Sibiya to make it 2-1.

The goal did not deter the Team of Choice as they surged forward and they restored their two-goal lead in the 62nd minute when Kutumela set-up Hlongwane, who netted to hand Maritzburg a 3-1 lead.

The momentum was with Abafana Bes'thende in the closing stages and they were awarded a penalty after Nazeer Allie was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box with nine minutes left.

Sibiya's effort from the penalty spot was blocked by Maritzburg keeper Marcel Engelhardt, but the ball hit the back of the net after sneaking under the German shot-stopper's body to make it 3-2.

Maritzburg then stood firm at the back in the dying minutes of the match as they ultimately emerged 3-2 winners on the day.

Maritzburg United (1) 3 (Tlolane 15', Kutumela 57', Hlongwane 62')
Golden Arrows (0) 2 (Gumede 58', Sibiya 83')

Maritzburg United: Engelhardt, Claasen (Moseamedi 68'), Hachi, Daniels, Tlolane (Allie 67'), Rae (Ismail 67'), Ntshangase (Mngonyama 86'), Graham, Stevic (Shandu 46'), Hlongwane, Kutumela.

Golden Arrows: Mlungwana, Sibisi, Lunga, Zuke, Dube, Mathiane, L.Dube (Sibiya 46'), Mtshali (Ndwandwe 60'), Makhubela (S. Parusnath 72'), Gumede, Mutizwa (Mmodi 46').