Posted on April 18, 2012 22:25
AmaZulu maintained their place in the top eight after an enthralling Durban derby against Golden Arrows on Wednesday, coming out 1-0 victors thanks to a late Carlington Nyadombo goal.
The first half was fairly even in terms of chances and possession, with each team taking turns to dominate for short spells. Arrows midfielder Dillon Sheppard was the most dangerous, taking a number of shots half way through the first stanza.
The first real chance of the game fell to Usuthu teenager Donovan Thompson. He had a great chance to score his first goal for AmaZulu, but the youngster shot high after Marc van Heerden sent a great corner into the box. Cedric Gumede punched it straight at the 18-year-old but he rushed his shot and hoofed it over the bar.
Thompson, who usually plays with the club's development side, Durban Warriors, was impressive on the left flank though, making good tackles and passing neatly most of the time.
Arrows got their first decent effort in the 23rd minute, when Sheppard got onto a Collins Mbesuma pass into the box, but he collided with goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini and the ball flew out behind the goal.
Five minutes later he had another crack at goal, shooting hard from the right but sending it narrowly wide, before shooting from the left but hitting the woodwork a minute after that.
Usuthu had a chance in the 41st minute when Ayanda Dlamini did great work to win the ball on his touchline. He outsmarted Gumede, who rushed out of his area to get the ball. Dlamini got away from his markers though and sent a cross into a goalkeeper-less box, but Ramson Zhuwawo made a mess of converting the chance and shot it over.
Arrows then had another good chance just before the whistle, when Elrio van Heerden sent a flat cross into the box for Abafana Bes'thende. But Thamsanqa Gabuza's diving header went narrowly wide to the left.
After the break, it was Arrows who came out the stronger side. Sheppard had a chance in the 50th minute to break the deadlock, but his volleyed shot was off a rising ball so it went high over the bar, after Thamsanqa Mkhize sent a ball across the face of goal from the right.
Then, a few minutes later, Clifford Ngobeni squandered a wonderful chance and left his coach fuming. A cross came in from the left, and he had tons of time to control it in the box and shoot, but he rushed his shot and it bounced off the top of the bar and over the goal.
Amazingly, they had another chance in the 57th minute, this time for Mbesuma. He had a sitter of a chance, but fired it straight at Kapini. The Arrows man did a wonderful job to control and turn with the ball, but if only he had gone left or right instead of straight, it would have hit the back of the net for Abafana Bes'thende. Things became quite chaotic as the half wore on and Arrows had over 60 percent of the ball. Sheppard took a free kick from the right, and he beat Kapini all ends up, but the ball again bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Then, in the 74th minute, replacement Katlego Mashego sent a brilliant free kick right at the top corner of Kapini's goal, but the Zimbabwean stopper dived to his right and brilliantly palmed it away. The deadlock was broken completely against the run of play in the 78th minute, when Nyadombo scored his second goal in as many matches, after his heroics in the Nedbank Cup on the weekend.
Van Heerden sent a pinpoint corner into the box, which was headed by Josef Lekata at Gumede, who did well to save. But the loose ball was headed powerfully home by Nyadombo from close range. Lekata almost added a second for Usuthu minutes later, as he dived into the box to get his head onto a cross, but his effort was glanced narrowly wide.
Arrows went off the boil after the goal and seemed to deflate in the face of defeat. Roger Palmgren will be thanking his lucky stars that his team, and not Arrows, were able to take advantage of a chance at goal.