Perfect weekend for Kaizer Chiefs as Golden Arrows shock Sundowns
A howler from Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Dennis Onyango sparked a second half turnaround by Lamontville Golden Arrows as they claimed a deserved 3-2 Absa Premiership victory in torrential rain at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Sunday.
The result completed the perfect weekend for league leaders Kaizer Chiefs‚ who beat Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates 3-2 on Saturday‚ and then watched as their major title challengers Sundowns and BidVest Wits both lost.
Chiefs now have a 10-point lead over second-placed Sundowns‚ who do have a game in hand‚ but have looked sluggish in recent league encounters.
Thapelo Morena scored his first league goal since January to hand The Brazilians a deserved first-half lead‚ but after Onyango spilled Danny Phiri’s shot into his own goal‚ two further strikes from Knox Mutizwa secured the three points for Abafana Bes’thende.
Andile Jali netted a late goal for Sundowns to set-up a grandstand finish‚ but they could not do enough to force an equaliser.
The Durban-based side remain unbeaten at home this season‚ a record that will be tested when the sides meet again in their next fixture after the FIFA International break as Golden Arrows host Sundowns in their Telkom Knockout semifinal on Nov. 23.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane handed a first Absa Premiership start to forward Sphelele Mkhulise‚ while he also restored Rivaldo Coetzee to the midfield for a first league start in almost three months.
Golden Arrows began the game with all four of their Zimbabwean players in goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda‚ defender Divine Lunga‚ midfielder Phiri and striker Mutizwa.
Sundowns were the better side in the opening half as Morena chose to shoot when he might have crossed for Mauricio Affonso in the middle of the box‚ his low skidding shot saved with his leg by Sibanda in the Golden Arrows goal.
Lyle Lakay’s corners then almost had the beating of Sibanda twice in quick succession‚ the first scrambled away by the keeper‚ the second cleared off the line by Matome Mathiane as the strong wind sucked the ball goalwards.
At the other end‚ excellent link play between Mutizwa and Lindokuhle Mtshali created a shooting chance for the former‚ but he drilled the ball wide of goal when he should have at least hit the target.
Sundowns hit the front five minutes before the break as Tebogo Langerman surged into the box on the left-hand side and his low cross was turned home by Morena.
Both teams battled with the conditions early in the second period as the sodden pitch made passing difficult. Mutizwa headed over with an excellent chance from a corner‚ before Onyango’s howler handed the home side a leveler.
Phiri rifled in a shot from the edge of the box that was straight at the Uganda international‚ who could not hold on as the ball trickled into the goal between his legs.
And the turnaround was complete when Mutizwa got on the end of Lunga’s cross and his shot back across goal eluded Onyango and nestled in the far corner.
Mutizwa added a third with 10 minutes remaining when Seth Parusnath’s surging run into the box saw him clipped by Sundowns defender Mosa Lebusa and referee Abongile Tom correctly pointed to the spot.
Sundowns pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining when Lebusa’s back-heel in the box was perfect for the run and Jali and he netted his first Absa Premiership goal since the 2013/14 season.