Maritzburg edge Arrows for third win in a row

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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 21: Karim Kimvuidi of Maritzburg United and Sicelokuhle Hlatshwayi of Golden Arrows FC during the DStv Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United at Princess Magogo Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 21: Karim Kimvuidi of Maritzburg United and Sicelokuhle Hlatshwayi of Golden Arrows FC during the DStv Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United at Princess Magogo Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Maritzburg United registered a third straight DStv Premiership victory after defeating Golden Arrows 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Divine Lunga made his 100th appearance for Arrow, while Maritzburg gave Brian Hlongwa a rare start and named new signing Bradley Cross on the bench.

A small opening from the Team of Choice saw Karim Kimvuidi slip Amadou Soukouna in behind with a well-weighted pass, but the latter applied a rushed effort that flew across the far post.

Maritzburg launched a threat minutes later when former Orlando Pirates defender Wayde Jooste opened an angle from close-range and fired wide of the mark.

The home team cut the defence open before the half-hour mark from a move involving Pule Mmodi, but goalkeeper Renaldo Leaner managed to keep the attacker at bay.

Leaner was called to work again a few minutes gone when he smothered Ntsako Makhubela off nicely structured possession play to the last entry of the field of play.

The Arrows coaching duo of Vusimuzi Vilakazi and Mabhuti Khenyeza made no changes ahead of the second half, but Fadlu Daviids introduced Genino Palace in place of Reagan Van der Ross for the visitors.

Abafana Besthende got an early opening to make the breakthrough when Mutizwa darted in and flashed wide following a close-range shot.

Maritzburg were under more intense pressure at the resumption and needed the strong palms of Leaner to parry Sicelokuhle Hlatshwayo’s pile-driver.

With the half flowing by, Abafana Besthende enjoyed the lion share of chances through Mmodi and a point-blank free-kick from Knox Mutizwa but neither profited.

Arrows continued to push forward before the closing minutes and a powerful strike by Velemseni Ndwandwe forced Leaner to a big save.

Leaner made himself big again in the final exchanges with another remarkable stop off Ndwandwe’s header which coincided with the upright, while Palace cracked the upright with an effort from distance minutes later.

Maritzburg, though, snatched the winner in the dying seconds after Jose Ali Meza picked up the ball from his own half, surged towards the box and fired into the bottom corner for his first goal of the season.

Confirmed line-ups:

Golden Arrows: Mlungwana, Lunga, Hlatshwayo, Shitolo, Mantshiyane, Sibiya, Dube, Mutizwa, Mmodi, Makhubela, Dlamini

Subs: Mbatha, Nxadi, Gumbi , Khumalo, Nkosi, Magawana , Ndwandwe , Magubane

Maritzburg United: Leaner, Hlongwa, de Goede, Bhengu, Graham, Human, Moloisane, Jooste, van der Ross, Kimvuidi, Soukouna

Subs: Ndlovu, Cross, Samu, Theron,  Palace, Ndengane, Njoti, Ritchie, Meza

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