Durban — Richards Bay marked their debut in the DStv Premiership with a 2-0 win away to provincial rivals Golden Arrows at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Natal Rich Boyz, last season’s GladAfrica Championship winners, showed that they are not awed by the prospect of top flight football, as goals from Somila Ntsundwana and Abel Mabaso took them to an impressive victory over Abafana Bes’thende.
The teams traded attacks in the frantic opening stages, with the best chance seeing Arrows’ Velemseni Ndwandwe shooting just over the crossbar in the ninth minute.
The hosts seemed the more cohesive team in attack, creating further threatening moments for the likes of Ryan Moon and Pule Mmodi — the latter hit the upright with a header on 27 minutes — but the visiting team took the lead just before the half-hour mark.
The Natal Rich Boyz caught Arrows napping with a swift counter-attack and Mabaso teed up Ntsundwana to sweep a low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede and claim a 1-0 advantage.
Abafana Bes’thende responded well to going behind, putting together several promising attacks, but they struggled to break down their opponents and test goalkeeper Salim Magoola.
Their best chance to level the game before the break arrived on 39 minutes when Nduduzo Sibiya picked out Siyabonga Khumalo, but the midfielder could only shoot into the side netting.
Arrows continued their search for an equaliser early in the second half, with Khumalo shooting over on 46 minutes and Sibiya forcing Magoola into a fine save shortly thereafter, while Moon headed off target just before the hour mark.
For all their good work in attack, Arrows remained vulnerable in defence and were punished by Bay in the 74th minute, as Mabaso converted from an assist by Sanele Barns to make it 2-0 and effectively secure the three points for the top flight rookies.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action in midweek, with Bay at home to Marumo Gallants on Tuesday and Arrows visiting Sekhukhune United the following day.