GIRONA, Spain - Golden Arrows tasted their first defeat in the Spanish Capital after a 4-2 loss to Girona. However, Vusumuzi Vilakazi said he was pleased with his team performance against a La Liga outfit.
"I'm very happy with today's performance," Vilakazi said. "The players showed character more than anything. We played against a good team that's in the highest division of football in Spain. As much as we wanted to win,we also wanted to learn."
Vilakazi continued: "I saw the players trying to adjust to the correct game-model. Hence improving their game. After having won the first game,we knew that the level won't be the same coming into today's game. We anticipated that it would be a little bit harder than the first one,but we came on board."
Arrows were surely not going to have an easy run against a team currently in a hunt for a Uefa Europa League spot this year. The Gironistes have had a sterling season so far,they are currently 7th in the Spanish top-flight football with 43 points after 29 games.
To make things a bit harder for Abafana Bes'thende, Girona were still recovering from a 6-3 defeat from Real Madrid last Sunday at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Arrows were also at the venue durring that game but the South Africans were more excited about watching Cristiano Ronaldo score four goals for Los Blancos instead of studying the Gironistes tactics. However, no one would blame the Multichoice Diski Challenge champions for such negligence because little did they know that they would be competing against the team on Friday.
On Wednesday, there was an alteration to the original tour fixture, seeing Barcelona's game scheduled for Thursday moved to Monday-thus cancelling Arrows trip to Espanyol-and accommodating Friday's encounter.
The homeside made their intentions clear only 10 minutes into the game but goalkeeper Sherwyn Naicker was the difference, saving the vsitors from conceding early on. Antony Colon had two shots on targets in that period. In his second attempt, he beat marker Mfanafuthi Mkhize with a back-heel touch before curling a slow drive to the far post, thus forcing Naicker into a fine save.
However, later on, Colon would finally beat Naicker. Thanks to some neat work down the by-line by Pedro Porro, who beat marker Mkhize before putting through Colon for an easy tap-in.
Arrows had a quick response through Seth Parusnath. The visitors were awarded a free-kick just outside Girona's box. Siphamandla Sabelo made a sneaky pass to an unmarked Parusnath who was at the edge of the wall, who quickly turned thus unleashing a shot that past Gorka Moreno.
A few minutes into the second half, an unarmarked F'aday Caraballo struck in a terrific curler past Naicker from the edge of the box.
The combination of Porro and Colon would again haunt Arrows. Porro delivered in a delightful cross from the right wing, in which Colon connected with an easy header for Girona's third.
Soon after, a cheeky chip from Cristian Manzanera would make it four for the home team. However, the MDC champions fought till the end as Nkosikhona Dube teamed up with Sibusiso Sibeko for the visitors' second.
Arrows will play their last match against the Barcelona B team on Monday.