Knox Mutizwa scored a brace of goals to inspire Golden Arrows to a 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in a Nedbank Cup quarterfinal played at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The victory was a deserved one for Steve Komphela’s Abafana Bes’thende, who outplayed Phunya Sele Sele for the vast majority of the match and will have a chance next month to challenge for a place in the final of South Africa’s national cup competition.
Arrows dominated possession and made most of the attacking play through the first half, but they created only one genuine opening: Sibusiso Sibeko was presented with a shooting chance on 33 minutes but hesitated before getting away a tame effort which was easily held by Patrick Tignyemb.
Celtic offered little in attack through the first 45 minutes, seemingly content to sit back and wait for a mistake from their opponents. None was forthcoming, leaving the game locked at 0-0 by the interval.
Arrows were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty early in the second half when Sibeko appeared to be pulled back in trying to meet a cross from the right flank, while on 68 minutes Wayde Jooste did well to create space for a shot but struck his effort high and wide.
Abafana Bes’thende were finally rewarded on 70 minutes when two substitutes combined to great effect: Lerato Lamola sprinted free down the left on a counter attack before playing a fine square ball for Knox Mutizwa, who coolly stroked home a shot for a 1-0 lead.
Phunya Sele Sele hit back 10 minutes later, levelling the game at 1-1 thanks in the main to an error from Maximilian Mbaeva. The goalkeeper was unable to hang onto a driven cross-shot from Ndumiso Mabena and Bongani Sam was on hand to nod home the loose ball.
The match seemed destined for an extra half hour, but in injury time at the end of the regulation 90 minutes Mutizwa netted his second, scoring a fine goal direct from a free kick to seal a 2-1 win for the Durban side.
Arrows join TS Galaxy in the semifinals, with the last two berths to be decided this evening (Bidvest Wits v Chippa United) and on Sunday afternoon (Kaizer Chiefs v Cape Town City).
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Sam 80’)
Golden Arrows (0) 2 (Mutizwa 70’ 90+1’)
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Tani, Lingwati, Rikhotso, Sam, Kobedi, Baloyi, Potsane (Masuku 56’), Mashikinya, Dlamini (Letsoalo 80’), Mabasa (Mabena 62’)
Golden Arrows: Mbaeva, Mathiane, Mzava, Lunga, Venter, Phiri, Bilankulu, Ndwandwe (Lamola 69’), Mathenjwa (S. Dube 90+3’), Sibeko (Mutizwa 58’), Jooste