Durban - Thanduyise Khuboni’s stoppage-time penalty helped Golden Arrows end their winless start to the Absa Premiership campaign and handed them a 1-0 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in their clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Both coaches were under heavy pressure coming into the game and the result will be of major relief to Abafana Bes'thende boss Muhsin Ertugral, whose only previous point of the season so far came when his side earned a goalless draw against AmaZulu in their last game.
The match looked to be heading for a draw again with the closest either team came to scoring being when striker Thamsanqa Gabuza struck the crossbar in the first half.
But Arrows were given a late chance for all three points, which they happily took, after substitute Tebogo Langerman fouled Gabuza from the back in the box.
The result was a third loss in four games for the Brazilians and adds further pressure on their coach Johan Neeskens.
The men from Pretoria applied most of the pressure through the first half and had the first real opening in the ninth minute when Emmanuel Baffour found himself in some space on the left side of the box, but blazed into the stands.
Midway through the half, Themba Zwane had two decent chances within the space of a minute - first he unnecessarily took an extra touch instead of shooting, before shooting wide after dummying a defender from eight yards out.
On the half-hour mark, Samuel Juries lifted over the bar from the edge of the box as another chance went begging by the Brazilians.
New Bafana Bafana cap Gabuza came closest to breaking the deadlock after 33 minutes when his effort struck the cross bar on the way over after Siyanda Zwane’s clever right-side cross was collected behind everyone and struck first time from the edge of the box.
Moments before the break, Baffour tamely headed straight at Pavels Steinbors after a teasing cross from Laffor on the right.
It was goalless at the break and after the restart, Khuboni and Laffor wastefully shot wide for their respective teams, before Luyolo Mapolisa was played in superbly on the left by Ntlantla Zothwane but was equally careless and failed to hit the target.
At the other end, Steinbors was kept busy when Zwane fired low, forcing the Latvian to dive to his right.
Just before the 70-minute mark, Juries drifted inside from the left, but dragged his attempt wide, before the busy Laffor did the same from the right, the Liberian though, arrowing his shot over the crossbar.
With 10 minutes remaining, Gabuza scuppered his shot under pressure from the Sundowns defence, before winning the penalty that was converted by his captain, much to the relief of the Arrows bench.