10.03.2021 21:39 h

Mutizwa helps Golden Arrows rise to second in South Africa

A goal from Zimbabwean Knox Mutizwa helped Golden Arrows win 2-1 at TTM on Wednesday and climb to second in the South African Premiership, one point behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Mutizwa scored midway through the first half in northern city Polokwane to give the Durban-based visitors a half-time lead that was cancelled out three minutes into the second half.

Arrows went ahead again on 86 minutes when Siboniso Conco converted a penalty to earn his team a second successive away in the richest African league with a 15 million rand ($995,000/835,000 euros) first prize.

Expensively assembled Sundowns have 36 points, Arrows and Orlando Pirates 35 each, SuperSport United 34 and Swallows and AmaZulu 31 each entering the final third of the 30-round season.

However, due to CAF Champions League commitments, record 10-time Premiership champions Sundowns have played between two and four fewer matches than their five current title rivals.

With Sundowns playing in the South African FA Cup Wednesday, Arrows stole the show, having already secured one point more from 19 matches than they did from 30 last season.

In South Africa, Sundowns, Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are the major crowd-pullers, with some matches traditionally attracting up to 90,000 spectators, even if the fixture is screened live.

Another Durban outfit, AmaZulu, stretched an unbeaten league run to nine matches thanks to a 1-0 away win over lowly Chippa United in East London.

Tapelo Nyongo scored the match-winner for a club formed in 1932, making them the oldest of the 16 current Premiership sides.

They are coached by Benni McCarthy, who helped Jose Mourinho-managed Porto win the 2004 UEFA Champions League final and scored a record 32 goals for South Africa.

A dismal season for Chiefs continued as they needed a late Lebogang Manyama goal to snatch a 1-1 draw at second-last Maritzburg United.

Runners-up to Sundowns last season, Chiefs lie 11th with just four wins and 18 goals from 18 matches and are destined to finish a sixth consecutive season without a domestic trophy.

Expectations were high when the season began after four-time Premiership-winning coach Gavin Hunt moved to Chiefs when Bidvest Wits disbanded, citing the high cost of running a Premiership club.

But a transfer ban until mid-2021, imposed by FIFA after the Soweto club illegally signed Malagasy player Andriamirado 'Dax' Andrianarimanana, has hampered his efforts to bolster the squad.