Arrows end losing run
Musa Bilankulu (Gallo Images)
Durban - Goals from Musa Bilankulu and Mxolisi Macuphu helped Golden Arrows end a four-game winless streak with a comfortable 2-0 Premiership victory over 10-man Moroka Swallows at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Tuesday night.
Defender Bilankulu, playing in a more advanced midfield position, headed the hosts in front after 25 minutes, before the dismissal of Sibusiso Kumalo after he picked up a second yellow card on the hour mark tipped the balance of the game.
After several misses from Abafana Bes'thende, they eventually managed to seal the win in stoppage time via a calm finish from substitute Macuphu.
The victory lifted them 12th in the standings, while Swallows are 11th after their latest defeat.
Arrows had most of the early openings, although they were all from distance with Bhekisizwe Nkosi’s first-time shot bulging the side-netting, while Norman Smith and Joseph Musonda fired just over.
But 15 minutes into the game, they produced an excellent opening for Rutus Krjauklis, who watched his six-yard shot blocked by the right boot of Aubrey Mathibe after Bilankulu set up the Latvian defender.
At the other end, good interplay between David Mathebula and Lefa Tsutsulupa led to the latter making a room for a shot from 20 yards out that was dragged wide to the right.
But Arrows then went in front just after the midway point of the half when Sibusiso Hadebe’s corner was met powerfully by Bilankulu giving Mathibe no chance in the Swallows goal.
The Birds almost levelled matters moments before the interval when Tsutsulupa played in Lerato Chabangu, whose shot from a tight angle was sharply turned away for a corner by Pavels Steinbors.
The home sides life was made even easier 14 minutes after the break when Kumalo was sent off after collecting a second yellow card following a tackle on Nkosi.
The Arrows left winger should have doubled the lead two minutes later, but squandered an open header at the back post after a superb right-side cross by Bonginkosi Ntuli.
Nkosi was in the mix not long after when he combined with Tom down the wing, but the final effort was blazed high into the stands.
At the other end, the 10 men of Swallows kept plugging away and they came closer to an equaliser when a 30-yard free-kick by Chabangu whistled over the cross bar.
Smith should have sealed the win with eight minutes remaining, but shot the wrong side of the post and into the side netting, much to the frustration of the home fans, while replacement Nkanyiso Madonsela saw a much better attempt deflected away for a corner.
With time running out, Arrows eventually managed to seal the win when Smith played in Macuphu, who slid the ball under Mathibe from close range to cap the win.