ISHMAEL MOHLABE

The University of Pretoria dropped important points when they lost 2-0 to Golden Arrows in a thrilling Premier Soccer League encounter at Absa Tuks Stadium last Wednesday. Bongi Ntuli from Golden Arrows produced a man-of-the-match performance as he scored in each half to help steer his team away from the relegation zone.

The hosts started the match as the better of the two sides. An early cross from Dumisani Ngwenya found Mame Niang, whose header was on target, forcing Arrows goalkeeper Pavel Steinbors to produce the first save of the game. Steinbors was called into action again four minutes later when Siyabonga Ngubane connected with Ayanda Lubelo’s low cross. Steinbors produced an excellent save to give AmaTuks a corner.

AmaTuks goalkeeper Washington Arubi did not have much to worry about for most of the first half as his teammates controlled possession. Just after the half-hour mark, AmaTuks started to sit at the back and Arrows started to look strong enough to threaten their defence. Ntlantla Zothwane’s 30-yard shot saw Arubi produce a superb save in the 37th minute.

AmaTuks seemed to have lost momentum in the last five minutes before the interval. Miscommunication between Arubi and his defenders allowed Arrows to score an easy goal. Ntuli was left unmarked and sent the ball into the open goal to put the visitors ahead. AmaTuks coach Steve Barker said that the goal “was unacceptable”. “We lacked a little bit of mental alertness and mental sharpness,” he said.

AmaTuks came close to levelling the score in the 10th minute of the second half when Petrus Shithembu set up Thabo Mosadi with a goal opportunity. Mosadi played the ball one-on-one against Steinbors, but could not produce a goal. AmaTuks continued to demonstrate a sense of urgency as they looked for an equaliser and Lubelo made another attempt on goal. Senegalese-born Niang saw his powerful header go just off-target.

After 89 minutes, Ntuli put the game beyond doubt by scoring his second goal. The goal, which came from a Thamsanga Gabuza cross, sealed the three points for Arrows.

Barker admitted that his side did not perform well enough to win the game. After the match, he told the media, “We went a little bit flat before half time. We didn’t do enough to win it.”

AmaTuks will be looking to get back to their winning ways when they host Moroka Swallows on Wednesday. Barker goes into this clash knowing that his side will have to produce a better performance than what they displayed in their game against Arrows. “We need to play better. We have got a lot more to offer than we have shown,” he said.

Photo: Kobus Barnard

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