Arrows and AM in another poor KZN derby

WANDILE Mabuza of Royal AM challenges Lungelo Nguse of Golden Arrows during their Premiership match at Mpumalanga Stadium yesterday. | BackpagePix

WANDILE Mabuza of Royal AM challenges Lungelo Nguse of Golden Arrows during their Premiership match at Mpumalanga Stadium yesterday. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 20, 2024


Golden Arrows (1) 1

Mkhize 15’ OG

Royal AM (0) 1

Shezi 52’

LAMONTVILLE Golden Arrows and Royal AM failed to make their KwaZulu-Natal derby count after playing to a 1-1 Premiership stalemate at the Mpumalanga Stadium on Saturday.

Abafana Bes’thende moved into the top eight with the point gained, while Thwihli Thwahla moved up one spot into 12th on the standings.

The pre-match build-up of yet another KZN derby posed questions around whether Arrows would be able to shake off their thumping defeat from their last outing.

Abafana Bes’thende coach Steve Komphela made three changes to the side that conceded seven goals away at Orlando Pirates. Themba Mantshiyane slotted in at right-back for the inexperienced Thokozani Lukhele, while midfielder Lungelo Dube protected the defence and kept the ball ticking for the hosts.

Looking for continuity, Royal coach John Maduka made one change to the team that won against Polokwane City last time out.

The home side quickly settled into the game and looked determined to get the edge over their provincial counterparts and were rewarded with an early breakthrough.

Winger Siyanda Mthanti took up a position out wide before crossing into the box, where Lungelo Nguse chipped the ball towards goal. Forward Zukile Mkhize, on defence, ended up getting a touch and knocking the ball in for an own goal.

From there Royal seemed to be awakened from their slumber and started applying pressure of their own.

In the 40th minute, the visitors created their best opportunity which was woefully spurned by young winger Ayabulela Maxwele.

The 23-year-old was able to evade the offside trap and receive a ball behind the defensive line, but after charging towards the box, he couldn’t make up his mind which pass to make, with three of his unmarked teammates calling for the ball inside the box.

Although it was a fairly even encounter in the opening half, AM created the better of the opportunities and edged the ball possession.

Maduka’s men would carry that momentum over to the second stanza and levelled the game after 52 minutes with a well-taken goal by Khulekani Shezi.

The Thwihli Thwahla Academy graduate was lively in the box as he reacted first to a cross into the area and latched onto a Motebang Sera knockdown. Shezi, 23, placed his effort into the top right corner and added an edge to the game.

As the game calmed down and became more even, both benches made substitutions and looked to influence proceedings in their favour.

For Thwihli Thwala, Ruzaigh Gamildien and Khethu Ndlovu came on for Sera and Levy Mashiane, while Arrows introduced Thabani Zuke and Angelo van Rooi.

Arrows will next make the trip to Cape Town City next Sunday, while Royal AM have to navigate the visit of Orlando Pirates on the same afternoon.

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