Mamelodi Sundowns progressed to the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup with a 1-0 win over 10-men Golden Arrows on Friday night
Mamelodi Sundowns started off positively against Golden Arrows and threatened the opposition with Nyasha Mushekwi and Jabu Manqele combining well upfront, but Arrows keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede did well to deal with the danger in the opening minutes of the game.
Arrows dominated possession inside the Sundowns’ half and Thamsanqa Gabuza nearly capitalized on Wayne Sandilands’ error in the 13th minute, but his shot was deflected for a corner. The visitors had their penalty appeal turned down in the 15th minute after Bongi Ntuli fell inside the box.
Sundowns created the best chance of the first half in the 25th minute when Mushekwi received possession on the edge of the box, but Arrows keeper Gumede pulled a great save to deny the home side an opener.
Tshepo Liphoko pulled the trigger from the free-kick in the 27th minute but Sandilands had an important touch on it, as the ball bounced off the crossbar for Arrows’ third corner of the evening. As the game approached the final 10 minutes, Sundowns’ Samuel Julies dribbled a few Arrows defenders but his shot was deflected for a corner with Gumede well stretched.
Sundowns’ Ramahlwe Mphahlele was caught out of position by Gabuza and the Arrows marksman’s shot came off the woodwork with Sandilands in no man’s land, but the score remained 0-0 at half time.
The second half started with some drama when Arrows’ defender Maswanabo Bovu received his second yellow card just two minutes into the second stanza for his late tackle on Hlompho Kekana. Pitso Mosimane had introduced Anthony Laffor at the beginning of the second 45 minutes for unimpressive Richard Henyekane, as he looked for more attacking options with Arrows holding firm.
Arrows was again denied by the framework 11 minutes into the second half, when Gift Sithole got a free header inside the box, beating Mushekwi on air but his efforts came off the crossbar with Sandilands well beaten.
Sundowns thought they have taken the lead when Laffor connected well with the ball but Arrows’ keeper Gumede stood his ground and denied the Liberian with a brilliant save to keep the score 0-0 after 70 minutes.
Substitute Katlego Mphela was played through by another Sundowns substitute Teko Modise in the 77th minute, but Arrows defence reacted quickly to close down Mphela. The home side finally broke the deadlock in the 80th minute when Anthony Laffor kept his cool from Tebogo Langerman’s cross to make it 1-0.
Arrows fought hard to get back to the game but it was too late for the KwaZulu Natal team to at least force the game into the extra time, and Laffor’s goal was enough to see Sundowns through to the last eight of the Nedbank Cup.