Pretoria – Golden Arrows struck in either half to secure a hard fought 2-0 win over the University of Pretoria in a Premiership clash at Tuks Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Ntlantla Zothwane and Bongi Ntuli netted for Manqoba Mngqithi's side, late in each half, to hand the coastal outfit a vital three points on the road.
The fixture was the first for either side since December 19, as the Premiership resumed after the Africa Cup of Nations enforced break.
AmaTuks coach Steve Barker included new signing Siyabonga Ngubane – who joined the university outfit on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns during the January transfer window – while Namibian Petrus Shitembe, another new signing, started from the bench.
The visitors were quickest out the gate with their first chance in the 12th minute, when Zothwane hit an accurate free-kick goalwards, but had his thunderous effort well saved by Tuks goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who punched the ball away and out of danger.
Tuks replied with a chance of their own three minutes later, as striker Mame Niang back-heeled a neat ball to Ayanda Lubelo, but the midfielder failed to keep his shot on target and sent it skyward.
The hosts struggled to take their chances and their final touches let them down inside the Arrows' area, after having numerous opportunities to take the lead.
Zothwane was in the thick of the action again nine minutes before the interval, but had his well-taken effort saved by Arubi, who tipped over and out for a corner.
Tuks absorbed much of the pressure but finally had their defence breached a minute before the break, as Arubi came out to claim a dangerous ball inside his area. Zothwane beat the shot-stopper to the ball and chipped over from a tight angle to hand the visitors the half-time advantage.
The sides started the second period slowly, and Thabo Mosadi tested Arrows goalkeeper Pavels Steinbors for the first time 13 minutes into the half, but the Latvian goalkeeper was equal to the task and made a good save to deny the midfielder.
Shitembe could have made his mark on debut, but saw his effort soaring high and wide of the target, after a solid build-up from the student side, which led Niang to nod down a ball from an accurate headed pass, but the new man could not apply the finishing touches.
Zothwane continued to be a problem for the Tuks defence and missed out on his second goal five minutes from time, when Arubi saved his powerful attempt from inside the area.
Shortly after, Arrows had Steinbors to thank for maintaining their advantage, when the keeper made a fine reflex save from Lionel Mutizwa's hammered effort, spraying the ball wide of goal and making a desperate stop to keep his side's lead in tact.
With time just about up, Ntuli capitalised on Arubi's parried save after Thamsanqa Gabuza powered a shot at goal. The goalkeeper could only push the ball in Ntuli's direction, leaving a simple tap-in for the replacement winger. – Sapa