Mahachi sinks Highlands

Golden Arrows left it late to defeat Highlands Park 2-1 in an Absa Premiership clash at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday.

The match looked set to end in a stalemate when Surprise Moriri cancelled out Knox Mutizwa’s opener, but Kuda Mahachi scored a late winner for Abafana Bes’thende, who move up to sixth place on the log.

Arrows enjoyed early control of the game, though they had to wait until near the quarter hour mark to have their first genuine effort on goal, with Lerato Lamola unable to beat Tapuwa Kapini with his right-footed effort.

That sparked some creative play from the likes of Kudakwashe Mahachi, Nduduzo Sibiya and Sibusiso Sibeko, but Highlands did enough to hold the hosts at bay while they build up a head of steam.

Abafana Bes’thende claimed the goal their effort deserved in the 28th minute, with Knox Mutizwa finishing off after great set-up play from Sibeko and Mahachi to make it 1-0 to the home side.

A few minutes later it should have been 2-0 to Arrows, as Mutizwa was presented with a one-on-one chance: he had the beating of Kapini, but his effort rebounded off the crossbar.

As the match closed in on halftime, Highlands had the chance to bring themselves level through Brandon Theron, but Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede came quickly off his line to make a fine save.

The first chance of the second half went the way of the hosts, with Sibiya’s free kick picking out Lamola, but the striker couldn’t direct a header on target.

Highlands made two substitutions relatively early in the second half, introducing veterans Fikru Tefera and Franklin Cale. The duo had a positive impact for the visitors, who began to look the likelier scorers.

Past the hour mark Arrows needed Gumede to make another good save, this time at the feet of Eddie Ngalo as a corner kick almost brought an equaliser for the Lions of the North.

Highlands finally brought themselves level in the 83rd minute of the match as Surprise Moriri buried a penalty kick to make it 1-1 and ensure the match had a tension-filled finish.

Arrows nearly reclaimed the lead a few minutes later as a scramble in a corner kick ended with Musa Bilankulu firing a shot on goal, but the ball deflected just wide of the target.

But on 89 minutes they weren’t to be denied, with Mahachi beating two defenders before firing beyond Kapini to make it 2-1 to the KwaZulu-Natal side and seal all three points.

Golden Arrows (1) 2 (Mutizwa 28’, Mahachi 89’)

Highlands Park (0) 1 (Moriri 83’ pen)

Arrows: Gumede, Dube, Mathiane, Mngwengwe, Mthiyane, Bilankulu, Sibiya (Msowoya 87’), Mahachi, Mutizwa (Ndwandwe 64’), Sibeko (Phiri 55’), Lamola

Highlands: Kapini, Sibande, Nhlapo, Mvala, Ngalo, Mbatha (Fikru 53’), Theron (Cale 60’), Katjiukua, Mashumba, Moriri, Shalulile