Pretoria - A late Anthony Laffor goal booked Mamelodi Sundowns a spot in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals, after beating visiting Golden Arrows 1-0 in a second-round clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday evening.
Having dominated in the second period, the hosts recovered from a Derby loss to SuperSport United last weekend to advance into the last eight in front of a lively home crowd.
The first real opportunity fell to Arrows in the 13th minute, when an error from Sundowns goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, who was attempting to distribute to a wide player, allowed Thamsanqa Gabuza to unleash a dangerous effort at goal, but Sandilands recovered in time to make a straightforward stop.
VIDEO: Nedbak Cup: Sundowns v Golden Arrows - highlights
Sundowns replied through Nyasha Mushekwi, who forced a solid save from goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede, who did well to keep out the hosts, before Tshepo Liphoko came dangerously close for Arrows, striking the crossbar from outside the penalty area four minutes later.
With action swinging from end-to-end, Sundowns winger Samuel Julies came agonisingly close in the 35th minute, when he picked up a loose ball inside the Arrows area, cut inside and tried curling his effort into the far corner of goal, but missed narrowly wide.
Arrows were again denied by the woodwork three minutes before the break, when Gabuza rattled the crossbar after a superb build-up exposed the Sundowns defence, leaving Gabuza a tight angle, but the forward got his shot away nonetheless.
Sundowns came out into the second period looking the more likely to make something happen, with Edward Mnqele and Julies both getting early shots away, but neither troubled Gumede in goal, before Arrows were denied for a third time by the crossbar in the 56th minute, after Gift Sithole struck the frame with a delicate header from an Arrows free-kick.
The action quietened down midway through the second period with the Brazilians dominating possession, but the Pretoria side were unable to find the final touch in Arrows' area, until half-time replacement Laffor opened a bit of space, before unleashing a thunderous effort at goal, but Gumede was equal to the shot and made a good save to deny the hosts the opener.
Sundowns maintained the pressure and were eventually rewarded 10 minutes from time, when Laffor volleyed home from dead in front, having received an accurate delivery into the area which the Liberian controlled with his chest, before slotting past Gumede.
Sundowns looked a nervous outfit after going ahead, with Arrows camping deep in the Sundowns half, but the Brazilians held firm in defence and more importantly, held on for a nailbiting victory.