Durban bragging rights will belong to Golden Arrows for quite some time after they blitzed AmaZulu 4-1 in a Absa Premiership derby at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Sunday.
Having not met in the league since the 2013/14 season these sides seemingly couldn’t wait to get stuck into each other, and the teams gave it a solid go, producing two goals in the first half and a plethora of half-chances at either end.
Four goals for Arrows wasn’t a true reflection of the possession stakes, but it was an icing on the cake as two optional-time strikes took them top of the table, ahead of Maritzburg United on goal difference.
Arrows forward Lerato Lamola was given a gift goal to set the tone for an attacking derby. He intercepted a lame pass by defender Tapelo Nyongo to goalkeeper Boalefa Pule to score the opener in the 19th minute.
Arrows pretty much deserved the lead after pressuring the Usuthu defence from kickoff.
Thereafter, AmaZulu took charge as striker Rhulani Manzini ruffled the Arrows backline with two attempts, one a header on to the bar and the other a volley which goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede clawed away from goal.
Fellow forward Mhlengi Cele had a shot blocked and saw a goal ruled out for an infringement.
The equaliser came in the 34th minute after Manzini won a free-kick, which Ovidy Karuru swung in for Togolese defender Sadate Ouro-Akoriko to nod in.
The goal marked his return from suspension after he was sent off in the season opener.
It set things up perfectly for the second period, and raised the temperature in the stands between the rival supporters who clamoured for more goals on a chilly afternoon that was ideal for football.
There were also cautions for Samuel Darpoh, the AmaZulu midfielder, and Arrows defender Nkanyiso Mngwengwe for some rough stuff.
AmaZulu were their own enemies, however, and again allowed Arrows to march ahead.
Indecision between the Togo defender and left back Simphiwe Mtsweni laid the welcome mat for midfielder Siphelele Magubane to race in unchallenged and drill in a low shot past stranded goalie Pule to retake the lead on 56 minutes.
It gave Arrows the boost they needed to get back into the clash after AmaZulu had subdued them with the equaliser.
Wayde Jooste and Kudakwashe Mahachi enjoyed bursts of forward momentum and with greater precision, Arrows might have scored again.
There was enough ammunition for AmaZulu too, helped by the second-half introduction of winger Lungelo Dlamini for Darpoh.
Later, Mabhuti Khenyeza replaced fellow veteran Siyabonga Nomvethe to make for a twin attack with Manzini, and in midfield, Nkanyiso Zungu took over from Karuru.
Khenyeza went close to equalising against his old side, but his shot during a goalmouth scramble was blocked and a follow-up attempt by Manzini hit the post.
Against the run of play, Arrows sucker-punched their neighbours with a third as Mahachi sped into a one-on-one duel with Pule and slotted in, before fellow Zimbabwean attacker Knox Mutizwa capped his late second-half introduction with Arrows’ second goal in optional time for the 4-1 finish.