Home Sport KZN Derby – Royal AM beat Golden Arrows as Maduka returns

KZN Derby – Royal AM beat Golden Arrows as Maduka returns

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Royal AM walked away with all three points from their DStv Premiership clash against provincial rivals Golden Arrows on Saturday.

Velemseni Ndwandwe of Golden Arrows is challenged by Mthokozisi Dube of Royal AM during their DStv Premiership game at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban on Saturday
Velemseni Ndwandwe of Golden Arrows is challenged by Mthokozisi Dube of Royal AM during their DStv Premiership game at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Durban — Royal AM completed their first-ever double over KZN rivals Golden Arrows as they edged them 2-1 at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon.

Thwihli Thwahla also handed head coach John Maduka a victory in his first game back with the Pietermaritzburg-based side.

Mfundo Thikazi, who has been one of the most consistent outlets for Thwihli Thwahla this season, found a deserved breakthrough for the visitors in the 59th minute.

The 22-year-old winger showed great tenacity and great composure to fire his side ahead in what was a tight game at that point.

In the 68th minute, Arrows bounced right back and found the all-important equaliser after exerting pressure on the Royal AM defence.

It was their all-time leading goal-scorer Knox Mutizwa who popped up with his third goal of the season with an assist from Divine Lunga, throwing Abafana Bes’thende back into the match and raising the stakes once more.

Just as it seemed the two teams were heading for a scoring draw, second-half substitute Sedwyn George popped in the 84th minute with what turned out to be the match-winning goal.

The 31-year-old forward hadn’t been in the matchday squad since October but emerged as a hero with his first goal of the season and the second for Royal AM on the day.

An Arrows wide coming off a disappointing away result made quite several changes in their starting 11, looking to recapture the levels required to dawn an Abafana Bes’thende shirt.

The Arrows technical team re-arranged their backline after conceding four goals to TS Galaxy in their last match with Lunga joining goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede in the starting line-up in place of Sboniso Cele and Sifiso Mlungwana respectively.

Royal AM, although reeling from defeat themselves, would’ve headed into this encounter with their chests high having handsomely beaten Arrows already in the first round and looking to complete their first-ever league double over Arrows.

Now under the mentorship of the returning coach Maduka, Thwihli Thwahla began the match on the front foot and seemed the more likely to score in a high-tempo game.

Although the visitors dominated the majority of the ball possession, it was Arrows that created arguably the best chance of the half through a standard situation in the 30th minute and some good work from Mutizwa.

The Zimbabwean international managed to find room in the box, but his shot was blocked and landed at the feet of Pule Mmodi who showed little composure and blasted his shot over the bar.

This latest instalment of the KwaZulu Natal derby was an important one as it could have bearing on which side could potentially end up in a relegation battle in the latter stages of the season and it showed in the intensity of the match.

@ScribeSmiso

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