Absa Premiership

Arrows secure top-eight finish

Thamsanqa Gabuza (Gallo Images)
Thamsanqa Gabuza (Gallo Images)

Durban - Golden Arrows ensured they will be playing MTN8 football next season after securing  a last-ditch 2-1 Premiership win over Orlando Pirates at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday afternoon.

Thamsanqa Gabuza opened the scoring with his 19th-minute header as Pirates enjoyed the better of the first half. 

Lerato Lamola levelled on the hour and Knox Mutizwa then netted in stoppage time to send Abafana Bes'thende into seventh heaven. 

The three points they gained not only lifted them to 38 points, above Ajax Cape Town (37), but it also extracted some revenge on last weekend’s Nedbank Cup loss to the Buccaneers.

Arrows made a positive start and could have been ahead in the 12th minute, but Lamola was denied by the feet of Jackson Mabokgwane after meeting Nduduzo Sibiya’s corner with his head. 

At the other end, Gabuza saw his header straight at Nkosingphile Gumede, before making amends for that miss when he met Mpho Makola’s corner from the left at the near post to put the Soweto giants ahead. 

Abafana Bes’thende had a golden chance to level when Siyabonga Dube punted in a dangerous cross that was met by Lamola, who was again denied by Mabokgwane. 

It could have been 2-0 going to the break, but Ayanda Gcaba’s header from a Makola corner cannoned back off the crossbar.

Arrows then turned the match around in the second half. 

They first were level when Lamola capitalised on a poor clearance from Mabokgwane, beat the off-side trap and scored with an overhead kick to level. 

And with the match appearing like it was headed for a draw, Mutizwa popped up to collect a Siphelele Magubane pass and lift the ball beyond the Buccaneers’ goalkeeper. 

The result also condemned Pirates to their worst league finish of 11th in the PSL era.