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

CityPress - - Sport -

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.

PHOTO: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IMAGES

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

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