Ntsako Makhubela of Lamontville Golden Arrows chases hard after Daylon Claasen of Maritzburg United during their Absa Premiership match at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, Durban on Sunday. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

DURBAN – Golden Arrows began the new season in the perfect way when they beat Maritzburg 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.

Debutant Michael Gumede broke the deadlock straight from the break, and the men from Durban were able to hold on for the remainder of the game to ensure that the three points remained in Clermont.

Abafana Bes'thende continued with their dominance over their sworn rivals as they brushed them off 1-0 to collect their first maximum points of the new Absa Premiership season.

Arrows, unbeaten in the last seven years against Maritzburg, continued where they left off last season when they beat the Team of Choice home and away.

No clear cut chances were created in the first half. Abafana Bes'thende dominated the midfield but their final ball was poor. Both net-minders, Edmore Sibanda and Richard Ofori were on honeymoon. The only time that they were threatened was during set-plays. Apart from that, they didn't have much to do in the first half.

Steve Komphela handed debuts to his new signings Lindokuhle Mtshali, Ntsako Makhubela, Gladwin Shitolo, and Gumede.

Eric Tinkler was dressed for the occasion in his dark grey suit and hardly took a seat on the bench, where the ex-Bafana midfielder kept on taking notes. Daylon Claasen, Gabriel Nyoni and Phumlani Ntshangase also made their debuts for the men from Pietermaritzburg.

Both sides were into the interval deadlocked at 0-0.

The second finally came into life immediately when Gumede broke the deadlock minutes right from the start. Danny Venter played a telling pass between the lines and Gumede reacted quickly as he lobbed the ball over Ofori to put his side in the lead. It was a well taken strike. Gumede signed for Arrows last month from Richards Bay FC.

The Team of Choice piled on the pressure in the last 15 minutes as they searched for the equaliser. Deolin Mekoa hit the post in the 78th minutes and a minutes later, Divine Lunga produced a glorious goal-line clearance to deny Nyoni.

It was all Maritzburg in the last few minutes, but the equaliser never came for Tinkler and his troops. It was another day of despair for Maritzburg in the KZN derby while it was all jubilation for Abafana Bes'thende as they kicked off their season with a sparkling start.

@minenhlecr7

IOL Sport