A 10-man Golden Arrows team beat the listless Moroka Swallows 1-0 in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
Vusumuzi Vilakazi, who came on as a second-half substitute, scored from the penalty spot in the 91st minute after his teammate Thokozani Mshengu was deemed to be fouled in the big box by Swallows defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele.
TV replays should Mshengu was not touched, but the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot.
Swallows started off quickly in the sweltering heat with midfielder Lefa Tsutsulupa hitting a few long-range shots at goal that did not test Arrows goalkeeper Nkosana Maseko at all.
At the other end, Nigerian goalkeeper Greg Etafia had little to do for the Birds, but 10 minutes into the second half he made a match-winning save from a Papi Zothwane grass-cutter. The Arrows playmaker latched on to a loose ball just on the edge of the area and let go with a vicious low drive, to which Etafia reacted superbly by going down quickly to his right,
In the 74th minute, Arrows skipper Kagiso Dikgacoi — who received a yellow card in the first half — was sent off for a dangerous foul. The Bafana Bafana international challenged for a ball with his studs showing and the referee did not hesitate to send him off despite his winning the ball.
Even with a numerical advantage, the Birds just did not seem like potential match winners as they struggled to penetrate the Arrows defence.
With time running out and a draw most likely, Mshengu beat his marker with pace and then convincingly went down in the box, apparently from a late challenge. Etafia was easily beaten as Vilakazi perfectly executed the penalty and sent Arrows one place up to fifth on the table with 30 points, while the 60-year-old Soweto club are stuck in 10th place with 22 points.
No luck for Leopards
Meanwhile, Free State Stars ensured Black Leopards remained bottom of the log when they beat them 2-1 in the scorching heat of Thohoyandou Stadium in their PSL game on Saturday afternoon. The visitors, Stars, lead 1-0 at half-time.
After controlling the better part of the first half, Stars midfielder Nathnael November put his name on the score sheet on the half-hour mark when he beat Leopards goalkeeper Ephraim Tjihonge with a grass-cutter.
Leopards coach Boebie Solomons, sensing defeat, changed his tactics and introduced Swaziland international striker Sibusiso Dlamini for the off-form Mulondo Sikhwivhilu three minutes before the interval. Fortunately, the substitute changed the complexion of the game and Leopards regrouped well to begin attacking the opposition.
In the second half, Stars confused the Leopards defence and added another goal through striker Moses Mbuyane with a beautiful header. Mbuyane received a cross pass in the box and headed home in the 59th minute to the disappointment of the Leopards bench.
Leopards’ Eric Ramavhale replied with a consolation goal in the 62nd minute — a clinical header — but it was too little, too late to save his team from sinking deep into the relegation zone.
In the end, it was a celebration for Kinnah Phiri’s boys as they moved into second place on the log, while Leopards were desolate after trying so hard to move off the bottom place. — Sapa