Lamontville Golden Arrows secured a 2-1 win over AmaZulu FC in their final DStv Premiership match of the season which was played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Usuthu, who scored through exciting attacking midfielder Sphesihle Maduna, remained sixth on the league standings having already secured their place in the top eight and qualified for next season’s MTN8.
Usuthu were under siege in the opening exchanges with Abafana Bes’thende dominating the possession and applying pressure on the hosts’ defence which was struggling to contain the visitors’ pacey attackers.
Velemseni Ndwandwe failed to hit the target from close range twice with only goalkeeper Veli Mothwa to beat. Pule Mmodi then burst into the AmaZulu box with explosive speed, but he was brilliantly denied by Mothwa from close range.
Usuthu improved as the game progressed and they applied pressure on the visitors’ defence. Sphesihle Maduna intercepted a poor pass from keeper Sifiso Mlungwana before scoring to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu in the 40th minute.
However, the lead only lasted for two minutes as Ndwandwe made amends for his two earlier misses as the attacking midfielder turned home a top-notch cross from Nduduzi Sibiya to make it 1-1 heading into the half-time break.
Ndwandwe continued to torment the Usuthu defence with his incisive runs and he forced Mothwa into a decent save with a long-range shot. The 26-year-old player then had a shot blocked inside the hosts’ box after being set up by Nduduzo Mhlongo.
The two teams were attacking each other with a lot of crosses being played into both boxes. Philani Zulu delivered a quality cross which found an unmarked Thembela Sikhakhane, but the diving defender failed to keep his header on target.
Abafana Bes’thende were then awarded a penalty after Sibiya was fouled in the hosts’ box by Mbongeni Gumede. The Man of the Match then dusted himself off to convert the spot-kick to hand Arrows a 2-1 lead with seven minutes left on the clock.
AmaZulu then pushed for a late equalising goal in the closing proceedings and their last chance fell for their talisman Luvuyo Memela. However, the experienced playmaker dragged his shot wide of the target and Arrows then held on to claim a 2-1 win on the day.
AmaZulu (1) 1 (Maduna 40′)
Arrows (1) 2 (Ndwandwe 42′, Sibiya 83′)
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Xoki, Moleko (Sikhakhane 56′), Mobara, Zulu, Buchanan, Mlambo (Ekstein 57′), Memela, Maduna (Masuku 71′), De Jong (Malepe 68′).
Arrows: Mlungwana, Nxadi, Magawana (Conco 74′), Cele, Sibiya, Ndwandwe (Mathiane 90’+1), Mhlongo, Khumalo, Mmodi (Mutizwa 66′), Zuke, Dlamini.