Arrows stun Dikwena to boost hopes

Golden Arrows gave themselves hope in their fight against relegation from the Absa Premiership when they defeated Platinum Stars 4-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Abafana Bes’thende remain bottom of the log on 18 points, still six adrift of second-from-bottom Free State Stars, but at least they have now given themselves a slim mathematical chance of escaping direct relegation with this much-needed, confidence-boosting win.

As for Dikwena, the defeat is a blow to their hopes of finishing in the top half of the table and earning the right to defend the MTN8 title they won earlier this season.

After a tame opening half hour, the match came to life just over ten minutes before the end of the first half. Thanduyise Khuboni converted his eighth penalty of the league season to put the visitors 1-0 up in the 34th minute, with the spot kick having been awarded after Philani Shange was adjudged to have been tripped by Sibusiso Hadebe.

However, Arrows’ lead last just 10 minutes. A high-foot foul in the away side’s 18-yard area gave Stars an indirect free kick. Vuyo Mere teed the ball up for Siphelele Mthembu to blast a shot into the roof of the net and make it 1-1.

It seemed the teams would head into the interval on level terms, but Festus Mbewe capitalised on an unfortunate slip from Stars goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, who lost his footing in trying to intercept a long ball and allowed the Zambian an easy finish for 2-1 in injury time at the end of the first half.

Arrows almost extended their lead in the 54th minute when substitute Rudolf Bester drove forward on a strong run and powered a low drive on target, but Mponstahe redeemed himself with an excellent diving save to his right.

However, Mpontshane was completely beaten by the same Bester just three minutes later – the former Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates player stole the ball off Stars’ defence before firing a stunning long range drive into the top corner to make it 3-1.

The Stars goalkeeper’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the 65th minute. He completely misjudged a long ball from his counterpart Arthur Bartman and allowed Bongi Ntuli to get round him on the by-line and enjoy a tap-in goal to extend the visitors’ lead to 4-1.

Dikwena introduced the likes of Mogakolodi Ngele, Tintswalo Tshabalala and Thabani Mthembu off the bench in an effort to bolster their attack and try get back in the game, but they rarely tested Bartman and their challenge fizzled out.

Platinum Stars (1) 1 (S. Mthembu 44’)
Golden Arrows (2) 4 (Khuboni 34’ pen, Mbewe 45+2’, Bester 57’, Ntuli 65’)

Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mabule (T. Mthembu 78’), Hadebe (Tshabalala 67’), Mbatha, Mhlongo (Ngele 64’), Mathe, Nyanda, Ng’ambi, S. Mthembu

Arrows: Bartman, Zwane, Nene, Sikhakhane, Mngwengwe, Shange (Bester 46’), Khuboni, Moholo, Mbewe (Ntombayithethi 71’), Ntuli, Katongo (Tom 88’)