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GOLDEN ARROWS 1
1 PLATINUM STARS
Competition: Absa Premiership
Date: Saturday, 27 September 2008
Venue: King Zwelithini Stadium
Golden Arrows and Platinum Stars played to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in an Absa Premiership match played at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Italo Fernandes and Tshepo Ramokala scoring the goals for their respective sides.
Fast starting Arrows got themselves off to the perfect start when Kagisho Dikgacoi flicked on a sixth-minute free kick from the right flank and striker Fernandes helped the ball home at the far post to put his side 1-0 up.
Platinum Stars spent much of the remainder of the first half trying to bring themselves to parity, and they finally found a way through Arrows’ defence in the 38th minute.
Veteran Godfrey Sapula, who had a hard-fought battle with Dikgacoi that represented a fascinating microcosm of the match, cleverly found some space in the attacking third of the field and fed Ramokala on the left of the penalty area. The young midfielder defied the pathetic finishing that has plagued South African football in recent times with a superb shot that nestled in the bottom left corner of goalkeeper Brenden Wardle’s net.
The Tycoons suffered a setback just before half time when defender Ivan Zwane was forced off with injury and replaced by Thabiso Monareng, more of a midfielder than a right-back.
Nonetheless, Stars were the stronger team early in the second half and they should have taken the lead in the 52nd minute when Sapula picked out Simba Marumo from a free kick, but the diminutive forward put his header the wrong side of Wardle’s upright.
Sensing that his side were losing control of the game, Abafana Bes’thende coach Manqoba Mngqithi opted to bring Abia Nale off the bench in place of highly talented but raw youngster Mfiki Mthimkulu. However, Nale struggled to find the usual fluent passing that is a hallmark of his game, and he failed to have a real impact on the match in a creative sense.
In fact the visitors kept up the pressure and Marumo missed another good chance with just 10 minutes to play, sending his low shot just inches wide of the goal after bursting into some space in the 18-yard area.
Stars ‘keeper Wayne Sandilands had to react sharply a few moments later, coming quickly off his line to smother the ball at the feet of Dikgacoi, as the powerful midfielder threatened to steal all three points.
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