Golden Arrows and league champions Mamelodi Sundowns each walked away from their DStv Premiership match at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium with a point.
LAMONTVILLE Golden Arrows had the better of Mamelodi Sundowns in their DStv Premiership clash which ended in a 1-all draw at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, Durban, on Saturday afternoon.
The result means that both sides maintained their unbeaten records but Arrows will feel hard done by after they dominated and finished strongly.
It was a fast-paced match-up between two unbeaten teams from the start. At the kick-off, Arrows were denied the space to impose themselves on the game as Sundowns grabbed the initiative.
It did not take Arrows long to undo Sundowns’ grip on the game, and they managed several penetrative sorties down the left channels without disrupting the opposition’s central defence.
However, Sundowns were first to draw blood with a goal on debut by Mothobi Mvala who rose well above two defenders as he connected with Lyle Lakay’s well-placed corner in the 16th minute (1-0).
Arrows responded with the equaliser five minutes later with a header by Michael Gumede who latched on to a low goal-mouth cross from Ntsako Makhubela. The ball dipped under the body of Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango (1-1).
Arrows came close to adding a second goal a few minutes later, but Arrows hashed a gilt-edged scoring chance.
As the first half wore on, Arrows maintained a physical presence especially in midfield battles and in the process, they conceded a raft of free-kicks. By halftime, they had surrendered 11 in all against six from Sundowns.
A feature of the first-half play was the way referee Jelly Chavani allowed the game to flow and ensure teams enjoyed advantage when the opposition should have been blown up for foul play.
Arrows, with the strong wins at their backs in the second half, ran hard at Sundowns at the start of the second half. Sundowns were content to absorb and managed to foil several promising Arrows moves around the outskirts of their penalty area.
Around the hour mark, Arrows managed to take play several times into the striking zone but Sundowns rearguard held out with a workmanlike display.
In the 68th minute, Arrows were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the opposition penalty area but the effort was cleared for a corner, which was also defended.
Deep into the second half Arrows were enjoying a 60-40% possession advantage but they were unable to capitalise. In their efforts to quell the strong-running Arrows players, it was the turn of Sundowns to be guilty of frequent fouls. As a result, by the 75th minute, the 11-6 penalty count became 12 -15 to Sundowns.
By this time Sundowns were strangely subdued and although they managed two late attacks, it lacked punch and Arrows stormed back with counter-attacks which were well contained in the final eight minutes of the match.
Four minutes from the end Arrows were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after Onyango had elbowed an Arrows player in front of the posts.
Sundowns will remain log-leaders and are clear by three points while Arrows are now in fifth position.