Arrows on target for Nedbank Cup glory
Team books place in the semifinals after staving off Platinum Stars, while Chippa United down plucky Jomo Cosmos
Golden Arrows booked a place in the semifinals of the Nedbank Cup by edging Platinum Stars 1-0 at Durban’s Princess Magogo Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Abafana Bes’thende scored late in the first half through captain Musa Bilankulu to continue their strong run in the 2016/17 edition, while Dikwena will feel that their enterprising efforts throughout the match went unrewarded.
Both sides took their time to settle in, with the first clear opportunity only arriving after 17 minutes.
Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede was forced to produce a double save to keep out an initial volley from Ndumiso Mabena and a follow-up shot from Bongi Ntuli.
Twelve minutes later, Arrows had the best chance of the half when Knox Mutizwa sprung the offside trap and only had Mbongeni Mzimela to beat, but the goalkeeper made a fine one-on-one save to keep the game deadlocked.
With the match looking likely to be goalless at the break, Arrows claimed the lead in the 40th minute. Nduduzo Sibiya provided an in-swinging corner kick and Bilankulu scored with a glancing header to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
Stars, as in the first stanza, created the first clear chance after the restart, with Gerald Phiri picking out Mabena in the 51st minute, but the striker wasn’t able to get over his header and failed to trouble Gumede.
In the dying minutes, Stars were desperately unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Siyabonga Zulu’s goal-bound header from a corner kick was handled by Arrows substitute Nkosinathi Mthiyane.
The defeat means that Cavin Johnson’s charges can concentrate on improving their 11th position on the Absa Premiership log and pursue their CAF Confederation Cup campaign.
Stars are through to the group stages of the continental gig and will be one of the names in the hat when the draw is conducted in Cairo this week.
In another quarterfinal, this one played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, a 72nd-minute strike by Lerato Manzini saw Chippa United beat National First Division campaigners Jomo Cosmos 1-0 to ensure that only Absa Premiership clubs will contest the semifinals.
The win means that the Dan “Dance” Malesela-led Chilli Boys still have a chance to win silverware.
For Ezenkosi, the end of an impressive run that saw them eliminate Bidvest Wits in the previous round means they can now concentrate on the league.
Cosmos are languishing in 11th spot, a long way off the promotion berths, but they are safe from relegation.
STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT Ryan de Jongh of Platinum Stars and Kudakwashe Mahachi of Golden Arrows fight for the ball in yesterday’s Nedbank Cup quarterfinal match at Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban