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Hadebe (Mulenga 64′)
Nhleko (Ndlovu 77′)
THANDA ROYAL ZULU 2
2 GOLDEN ARROWS
Competition: Absa Premiership
Date: Sunday, 15 February 2009
Venue: Mpumalanga Stadium
The Mpumalanga Stadium hosted another scintillating Absa Premiership game on Sunday afternoon that saw four goals in a hard fought match. Philip Evans was nominated as Man of the Match in a 2-2 draw between Thanda Royal Zulu and Golden Arrows.
This game was certainly one of two halves, as Thanda looked the livelier of the two in the first 45, constantly on the attack and threatening Abafana Bes’thende. However, the tone of the match changed somewhat in the second half, as Arrows took control and began to dominate.
The Amabhubesi’s early dominance paid off when they took the lead in the 8th minute through Nkosinathi Nhleko. A beautiful through ball from the back put Nhleko through on goal with only the ‘keeper to beat; the Thanda striker made no mistake, finishing expertly as he slipped the ball past an on-rushing Brenden Wardle, 1-0.
Their lead did not last long as Arrows drew level five minutes later from the penalty spot after some controversy. The penalty was correctly awarded after the referee adjudged Ahmed Mohammed to have hacked down an Abafana Bes’thende player inside the box.
Richard Henyekane stepped up to take the spot kick but missed on the first attempt after a brilliant save from Mandlenkosi Tsengwa. The referee, however, allowed him to retake the penalty because of players entering the box too early, although they were mostly Arrows players. Henyekane made no mistake the second time round, burying the ball into the back of the net, 1-1.
Nhleko should have regained his side’s lead two minutes later when a free kick found him unmarked inside the box six yards out from goal, but much to his disappointment he headed the ball inches wide.
Thanda were all over Arrows in a free flowing game. Abafana Bes’thende constantly made mistakes at the back due to the pressure applied on them by the Amabhubesi’s front two.
The second half, however, was a different story completely as Arrows took control of the midfield and began to dictate the pace of the game.
The Thanda defence looked at sixes and sevens at the beginning of the second half and almost paid for their drowsiness in the 49th when a mistake at the back allowed Henyekane through on goal. Luckily enough for Roger Palmgren’s men the striker has lacked form of late and squandered the one-on-one opportunity as he put his effort wide of goal.
Despite Arrows’ control it was the Amabhubesi who took the lead, against the run of play, in the 63rd minute. Philip Evans showed some heroic traits, playing in the middle of the park for his side that lacked a decent defensive midfielder, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a goal. Evans fired a low, ferocious shot from 30 yards out that sailed past a diving keeper and burst the net, putting his side back in the lead, 2-1.
This time the Thanda lead lasted 18 minutes before Arrows substitute Francis Kombe found the back of the net. Again a long range effort resulted in a goal, but this time luck played a part.
Kombe let fly from 25 yards and his shot deflected of the outstretched leg of Evans and past the ‘keeper, 2-2.
Arrows thought they clinched the game in the denying minutes when a Kagiso Dikgacoi cross was headed home by Philani Shange, but the goal was disallowed and ruled offside, wrongly so.
The gamed ended 2-2 and both teams should be satisfied with result as neither deserved to win the game.
Thanda Royal Zulu (1) 2 (Nhleko 8′, Evans 63′)
Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Henyekane 13′ pen, Kombe 81’)
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Musonda (Ngubane 84′)
Mshengu (Kombe 70′)