Arrows & Royal AM share the spoils in KZN Derby

football20 April 2024 15:58| © Backpage TXT
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Golden Arrows and Royal AM © Backpage Pix

In what was a tense affair in the Mpumalanga heat, Golden Arrows and Royal AM recorded a 1-1 draw in the latest instalment of the KwaZulu-Natal derby on Saturday afternoon.

Arrows were gifted the opening goal of the match as Zukile Mkhizu turned the ball into his own net early in the first half. However, second-half substitute Khulekani Shezi rescued his side shortly after the break with a well-taken effort inside the Arrows area.

Royal AM held most of the ball during the opening exchanges of the match while Golden Arrows played most of their football inside their own half. In dealing with Royal AM’s pressure, Arrows looked to hit the home team on the break at every opportunity.

Arrows then took the lead in the 15th minute courtesy of an own goal by Mkhize. After driving the ball down the right-hand flank, Lungelo Nguse played a low cross into the area before Mkhize, unfortunately, guided the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear the danger.

Thwihli Thwahla continued to dominate the possession count leading up to the halftime whistle as Abafana Bes’thende soaked up the pressure on the edge of their area. Royal AM were then presented with one of the best chances of the half in the 40th minute following a quick transition move into the Arrows area.

After beating the offside trap on the halfway line, Ayabulela Maxwele made his way into the 18-yard area but failed to pick out one of his three teammates as the clear goal-scoring chance went begging.

After an assertive start to the second half, Royal AM levelled matters in the 52nd minute as Shezi added his name to the scoresheet. With Arrows failing to avert danger from a corner situation, Shezi pounced on a loose ball inside the area before unleashing a powerful shot into the top left corner of the goal.

Arrows grew into the game after Shezi’s equaliser and began dominating the ball possession count after 70 minutes on the clock. However, Royal AM did not hold back in looking to create scoring chances of their own.

The pace of the game decreased drastically en route to the 90th-minute mark as the sun continued to beam down on the pitch at the Mpumalanga Stadium. Nevertheless, the referee called time on the match in the 95th minute as Abafana Bes' Thende and Thwihli Thwahla shared the spoils in the KZN derby.

Golden Arrows: (1) 1 (Mkhize 15’ OG)

Royal AM: (0) 1 (Shezi 52’)

Golden Arrows: Kayode, Mantshiyane (Mwengani 83’), Theron, Shitolo, Cele, Zwane (Zuke 67’), Dube (van Rooi 67’), Mthanthi (Moon 82’), Sibiya, Mutizwa, Nguse (Malinga 82’)

Royal AM: Mpto, Matlaba, Jiyane, Mabuza, Mkhize (Shezi 45’), Kobedi (Ncobeni 82’), Msomi, Mahlasela, Maxwele, Motebang (Gamildien 65’), Mashiane (Ndlovu 65’)