A SINGLE goal from veteran striker Collins Mbesuma was enough to ensure a 1-0 win for Golden Arrows in their first round Telkom Knockout Cup clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Tuesday night and consequently hand SuperSport United their first loss of the season.
It was a slow start to the game as both teams tried to find their feet while making as few mistakes as possible, but that made for a rather cagey opening 20 minutes with neither side looking threatening in attack.
That was until the 21st minute when striker’s instinct from Collins Mbesuma saw him sneak in front of his marker at the front post to turn home a low Siyabonga Nkosi right wing cross from only a couple yards out, 1-0.
The goal came somewhat against the run of play as the home side were controlling matters in the middle of the park, but the resolute Arrows defence kept them at bay.
In fact, SuperSport’s only real chance of the half came in the 24th minute when a slip in defence by Robyn Johannes allowed Mame Niang some space on the edge of the box, but the Matsatsantsa striker saw his stinging shot superbly saved by Helton Da Rocha diving low to his left to palm the ball away from danger with one hand.
United had the better of the possession in the first 45, but were unable to really create any decent chances in front of goal and seemed to lack imagination in attack.
In stark contrast, however, Arrows grabbed their only chance of the stanza with both hands and went into the half time break in the lead.
The second half was more of the same as Supersport applied a mountain of pressure on the Arrows goal, but much like the first 45 they struggled to find a way through the solid looking and well organised Abafana Bes’thende defence.
United’s only decent chance of the second half came eleven minutes after the restart when a deep cross from the right wing from Bryce Moon found Anthony Laffor unmarked at the back post, but his header from six-yards out was a poor one and went wide of the target.
That was as close as SuperSport came to finding an equaliser and as they continued to push forward they left themselves exposed at the back and Mbesuma should really have punished them in the 77th minute.
Mbesuma burst away on the counter attack, driving down the right flank before working his way into the box and shooting from just inside the 18-yard area, but his effort just skimmed the wrong side of the crossbar.
Nevertheless, luckily for Mbesuma his side were not made to pay for that glaring miss as the game finished 1-0 in favour of the away team, the first away team to win a Telkom Knockout match this season and the only KZN team left in the cup competition.
SuperSport United (0) 0
Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Mbesuma 21’)
United: Williams; Moon, Kekana, Booysen, Langerman, Laffor, Gabonamong, Ntshumayelo (Selolwane 65’), Erasmus, Hartog (Salmon 79’), Niang (Nyanda 46’)
Arrows: Da Rocha; Zwane, Bilankulu, Johannes, Tom, Khuboni, Nene, Machuphu (Manqana 57’), Nkosi (Gabuza 81’), Shange, Mbesuma (Musonda 89’)-Backpagepix