The KwaZulu-Natal derby between Golden Arrows and AmaZulu lived up to expectations as Usuthu needed penalties to eliminate their neighbours to advance in the Nedbank Cup.
DURBAN – The KwaZulu-Natal derby between Golden Arrows and AmaZulu lived up to expectations as Usuthu needed penalties to eliminate their provincial neighbours to advance to the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup.
AmaZulu won 5-4 on penalties after the cup clash at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont ended 1-1 after extra time on Saturday night.
Golden Arrows took the lead and led for the vast majority of the game after Michael Gumede put them ahead in the 13th minute. The 27-year-old Gumede managed to score following some good link-up play with teammate Knox Mutizwa.
As he said he would do following his side’s 4-3 win over Bloemfontein Celtic last week, Usuthu coach Benni McCarthy made defensive changes to his side as Veli Mothwa, Tsepo Masilela and Siyethemba Sithebe and Sphesihle Maduna who all starred in the game against Celtic made way from the starting XI for this game.
Augustine Mulenga could have equalised for Usuthi in the 23rd minute. The Zambian improvised well to get into the Arrows area but could not direct his shot on target.
On the half-hour mark, Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana pulled off a fantastic save from a Bongi Ntuli shot to keep his side in the lead. The 23-year-old could have gone from hero to zero in the 38th minute as he was judged by referee Victor Gomes to have handled the ball outside his area.
Benni McCarthy pulled off a tactical masterclass by introducing Luvuyo Memela near the death. The Cape Town born attacker created an equaliser for his teammate Lehlohonolo Majoro in second-half stoppage time.
Arrows’ goalkeeper has been in consistent form since the start of the campaign and definitely deserves a call-up to Molefi Ntseki’s next Bafana Bafana squad as an understudy to first-choice goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
In extra time, AmaZulu were the better side and started to create regular attacks, whilst Arrows barely posed a threat to Usuthu shot-stopper Siyabonga Mbatha.
The effects of fatigue started to show on both sides. Ntsako Makhubela received his marching orders in the second half of extra time, but fortunately for Arrows, it was literally in the last minute and so Usuthu did not have sufficient time to capitalise from their one man advantage.
There was little room for error in the penalties as neither goalkeeper made a save.
However, Danny Phiri missed Arrows fourth spot-kick after hitting the post which made the difference. Fittingly, Memela converted the final spot-kick to win the game for AmaZulu.