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Junior Dion bags hat-trick as AmaZulu beat Golden Arrows in Carling Knockout KZN derby

AmaZulu’s Junior Dion celebrates with teammates after scoring one of his three goals during their Carling Knockout quarter-final against Golden Arrows

AmaZulu’s Junior Dion celebrates with teammates after scoring one of his three goals during their Carling Knockout quarter-final against Golden Arrows at Moses Machida Stadium in Durban on Saturday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Nov 4, 2023


Junior Dion scored a first half hat trick as AmaZulu beat Golden Arrows 3-0 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening.

Usuthu booked their place in the semi-finals of the Carling Knockout Cup whilst winning their first match over Abafana Bes’thende since 2021.

Head coach Pablo Franco Martin’s men joined Stellenbosch and Richards Bay in the last four of the competition.

A highly anticipated KZN Derby kicked off at an upbeat and fast tempo as the thousands of supporters in attendance contributed to a lively occasion on the day.

Although both teams flew out the blocks pretty early, the erratic nature seemed to benefit Usuthu more as their counter-attacking style suited the pockets of spaces opened all over the pitch.

25-year-old off-season signing Mlondi Mbanjwa started his third game in a row for AmaZulu and made an immediate impact as he combined with Dion to find the early breakthrough.

In the 11th minute, Mbanjwa drifted towards the right-hand side before delivering an expert cross to Dion inside the six-yard box, the Ivory Coast-born forward made no mistake as he sidefooted his effort past a hapless Olufemi Kayode in goal.

Just as Arrows were beginning to build momentum, AmaZulu doubled their lead through that man Dion again in the 28th minute and this time Hendrick Ekstein was the provider.

The diminutive midfielder latched onto a loose ball in the near the Arrows defensive zone but had the confidence and skill to thread through a well-weighted pass which found Dion, who cooly chipped over the keeper.

It seemed as if it was written in the stars for Dion on the night as he jumped to the top of the Carling Knockout Cup scoring charts by sealing his first-ever hat trick in the South African top flight.

The robust striker showed his predatory instinct this time around as he leapt highest at the first post to head in his third goal of the match, leaving Arrows shattered.

Needing a response at half time, Arrows head coach threw on his two striking options as Ryan Moon and Lungelo Nguse replaced Knox Mutizwa and Tebogo Tlolane.

Off-season arrival Nguse may have spurned Arrows’ best opportunity to mount any kind of miraculous come-back in the 62nd minute.

The visitor's press caught Veli Mothwa by surprise which allowed Nguse to face the goalkeeper one-on-one but his attempted shot was poor and fell at the feet of Mothwa.

With all their attacking options on display, Arrows could master a way back into the match and therefore fell to defeat against their fiercest rivals.

IOL Sport