Cape Town - Maritzburg United bagged two goals at the death as they rallied from behind to earn a 2-1 victory over a shell-shocked Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.
Arrows looked to be heading for a narrow victory courtesy of Danny Venter's first-half strike but Maritzburg kept fighting until the end, eventually drawing level thanks to Daylon Claasen's 88th-minute effort. Buoyed by the equaliser, Maritzburg kept pressing forward, claiming the win in injury time when Arrows' Nkosinathi Sibisi put the ball in his own net.
The first half started at a good tempo, with Maritzburg bombing forward in front of an expectant home crowd as they went in search of the opening goal.
Rushine De Reuck saw his first-minute effort blocked in the box following a corner, while just one minute later, Mogamad Jappie failed to connect with the ball at the back post after Micah Lea'alafa's tantalising cross into the box.
Arrows mustered a response in the fifth minute but it came to nothing as Divine Lunga headed wide from Seth Parusnath corner delivery, suffering a clash of heads with Maritzburg's Daniel Morgan in the process.
After a brief lull in play, the match sprang to life again in the 22nd minute after Jappie's shot on goal was denied by a last-ditch block.
And Arrows were fortunate to escape unscathed a few minutes later as Keagan Buchanan's deflected shot was parried away from danger by Arrows keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede, but only so far as defender Kwanda Mngonyama, who lashed the rebound wide of goal.
The visitors hit back on the half-hour mark but it proved to be nothing more than speculative effort as Ntsako Makhubela fired wide of goal.
Maritzburg had a strong penalty shout waved away by the referee in the 37th minute, after Daylon Claasen was brought down in the area by Parusnath, and that decision came back to haunt the hosts as Arrows went on to claim the lead just one minute later. The visitors played the ball upfield quickly, starting with Gumede's raking pass from out the back, and the ball eventually made its way to Venter, who eventually slotted home at the second attempt.
The second half proved to be a closely contested affair, with Arrows seemingly content to sit back and soak up the pressure before looking to hit Maritzburg on the break.
Maritzburg were lucky to avoid a red card on the hour mark, when De Reuck brought down Lerato Lamola on the edge of the box with just the keeper to beat. However, the referee opted to hand De Reuck a yellow instead, much to the relief of the home side's bench.
The Team of Choice thought they had scored the equaliser when Judas Mosemaedi fired home five minutes later, but the assistant raised his flag to signal for offside.
The hosts kept plugging away, though, and created two good chances at successive corners, but on both occasions the resulting effort on goal failed to test Gumede in the Arrows goal.
Maritzburg then had another penalty appeal rejected in the 75th minute after Moseamedi's header appeared to strike Knox Mutizwa, with the referee ruling the ball hadn't touched the Zimbabwean striker's hand.
Credit must go to Maritzburg for not letting their heads drop, and their hard graft finally paid off two minutes from time as Claasen latched onto substitute Thabiso Kutumela's miscued shot before slotting home at the back post.
And the winner eventually arrived in the fourth minute of injury time as Sibisi guided Kutumela's low cross into his own net to send the home crowd into wild celebrations.
- TeamTalk Media