Arrows shoot back to hold Stellenbosch

Golden Arrows needed a last-gasp equaliser to claim a 1-1 draw against Stellenbosch FC in a DStv Premiership match played at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Friday evening.

The Maroons looked on course for victory thanks to Jayden Adams’ first-half opener, but Abafana Bes’thende equalised in injury time at the end of the match via Thabani Zuke to salvage a draw.

The result leaves Stellenbosch and Arrows in sixth and seventh place on 14 and 13 points respectively. Either side could have moved into the top five had they won, given fifth-placed Orlando Pirates’ 1-1 draw at home to AmaZulu in a concurrent match.

Arrows clicked through the gears quicker than their opponents and bossed the early minutes, with Pule Mmodi, Velemseni Ndwandwe and Nduduzi Sibiya proving influential figures with their passing and movement.

However, Stellenbosch got up to speed after the 10 minute mark and began to feed Nhlanhla Mgaga and Jayden Adams, with Arrows needing some sharp work in defence to keep the score line blank.

However, the visitors from the Cape broke through on 23 minutes via Adams, who got on the end of a corner kick delivery from Fawaaz Basadien and sent a header beyond the reach of Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede for 1-0.

The Maroons looked for a second goal just after the half-hour mark, with Basadien striking for goal directly from a free kick, but his effort flashed just over the crossbar.

Stellenbosch had something of a scare in defence when goalkeeper Sage Stephens fumbled a free kick delivery into his penalty area, but he recovered well to clear just outside the box. That proved to be the last attacking highlight at either end in the first half, which ended 1-0 in favour of the visitors.

The second stanza opened with Stellenbosch making a change, as Ibraheem Jabaar replaced Luezi Likuta, while Arrows waited 10 minutes until a double switch to bring on Siyabonga Khumalo and Saziso Magawana.

Just past the hour mark Abafana Bes’thende threatened via a long-range shot from Sibiya, but Stephens was well placed to make a save and keep the away team in the ascendancy.

That chance signalled the start of a significant spell of pressure from the hosts, with Mmodi shooting just over the target midway through the second half, while Magawana got on the end of a cross from Divine Lunga on 69 minutes, but was denied by Stephens.

Stellenbosch weathered the storm from Arrows and began to create chances of their own on the counter attack, most notably on 79 minutes when a quick transition from one of the field to another ended with Adams being denied by a fine save from Gumede.

Five minutes later it was Stephens’ turn to once again take centre stage, as he turned away Ndwandwe’s effort to keep Stellenbosch ahead. Arrows then bombarded the goal with efforts from Magawana, Sibisi and Khumalo, but all were either blocked or sent just wide of the target.

Khumalo had an effort on 89 minutes that looked destined for the back of the net, but once again Stephens was on hand to pull off a superb save.

An away win for the Maroons looked in the bag, but Arrows kept pushing for an equaliser and were rewarded four minutes into injury time when Thabani Zuke fired home a superb equaliser to salvage a share of the spoils – much to the disappointment of Stellenbosch’s defence.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action next Tuesday, October 18, with Arrows at home to Orlando Pirates and Stellenbosch hosting SuperSport United.

Golden Arrows (0) 1 (Zuke 90+4’)

Stellenbosch FC (1) 1 (Adams 23’)

Golden Arrows: Gumede, Ndlovu, Zuke, Dube (Khumalo 55’), Lunga, Manthsiyane, Dlamini, Mmodi, Sibiya, Ndwandwe, Moon (Magawana 55’)

Stellenbosch:Stephens, Van Rooyen, Makhanya, Sibiya, Basadien (Letsoenyo 73’), Titus, Mthethwa, Nduli, Likuta (Jabaar 46’), Adams (Weaver 88’), Mgaga