Golden Arrows fight back to deny Kaizer Chiefs at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium
CAPE TOWN – Hosts Lamontville Golden Arrows staged a dramatic fightback to secure a 2-all draw in a four-goal thriller against Kaizer Chiefs in a DStv Premiership match at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon after a goalless first half.
The lead changed hands twice in the second half and just when it looked like Chiefs could inflict the first league defeat on Arrows this season, substitute Nduduzo Sibiya scored a blinder to restore the stalemate late in the second half.
Following this outcome, Arrows, who entered the match in fifth place on the standings, remain unbeaten after four league games. Beleaguered Chiefs were in 11th position.
How the teams started suggested it would be a wide-open game, and in the opening three minutes, both goalkeepers were called into action.
Chiefs forced the first of four first-half corners in the second minute without exacting advantage. However, in the next minute, Arrows managed their first shot on target as the action switched to the opposite end of the field.
The end-to-end fare lasted well into the half and goalkeepers Itumeleng Khune (Chiefs) and Sifiso Mlungwana (Arrows) made some four saves each by the half-hour mark.
Arrows enjoyed the possession advantage and their abrasive presence in midfield meant that Chiefs battled to make headway on attacks down the middle of the field.
Although Arrows were particularly penetrative down the left flank, they channelled most of their efforts down the right.
Leonardo Castro, the Colombian striker who partnered Khama Billiat in the Chiefs' two-man attack, scored in the 27th minute but the goal was disallowed because he was ruled offside.
Chiefs finished the half strongly but failed to make the breakthrough. A 35th minute Castro header was held out by the crossbar and Mlungwana made two brilliant saves in as many minutes on the stroke of halftime.
Six minutes into the second half, Arrows made the breakthrough from the penalty spot after Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande fouled Arrows defender Zolani Nkombela in the penalty box. Referee Olani Kwinda pointed to the spot, and Siboniso Conco converted (1-0).
Moments after Billiat was fractionally wide with a low scoring drive, Chiefs' responded in the 57th minute when Castro headed home from a corner (1-1).
Strangely, the setback seemed to provide Arrows with a lift, and they looked good for another goal on the hour mark but were denied following a brilliant Khune save.
A fine team effort deep into Arrows territory saw Chiefs finally take the lead in the match when the Castro - Billiat combination rounded off splendidly as the opposition's central defence sprung a leak. Castro literally walked the ball into the net in the 64th minute (2-1).
Chiefs surrendered the lead five minutes later after a strong break out by Arrows from deep inside their half. Sibiya provided a clinical finish with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area past Khune (2-2).
Chiefs held the upper hand in remaining play, and although they fashioned a few scoring chances, they were far too hesitant in the firing zone and often opted to look for support when opportunities beckoned.