Golden Arrows and Moroka Swallows both retained their unbeaten records at the start of the DStv Premiership season after playing out a 1-1 draw at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The result sees Abafana Bes’thende climb to sixth on the log with eight points, while the second-placed Birds are now just a point behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, with 12 to their name.
After an intensive midfield battle in the early minutes, Swallows had the first shot in anger on 18 minutes, with Lebogang Mokoena’s grass-cutter comfortably saved by Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana.
Five minutes later Mlungwana was the heart of a defensive error which allowed the Birds to break the deadlock: the ‘keeper had a mix-up in the penalty with Velemseni Ndwandwe, allowing Zaphaniah Mbokoma to capitalise and make it 1-0 to Swallows.
Arrows responded well to to going behind and began to create chances, with the likes of Ndwandwe and Michael Gumede testing out Swallows ‘keeper Virgil Vries, who did well to keep his side ahead.
Abafaba Bes’thende levelled the game just past the half-hour mark, with Nduduzo Sibiya scoring direct from a free kick, curling an effort around the wall from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.
The teams traded chances through the remainder of the first half, but there were no further goals, leaving them locked at 1-1 at halftime.
Arrows were the stronger team through the period after halftime, but had to wait until the 66th minute to create a first notable chance, with Siboniso Conco seeing his deflected effort well saved by Vries.
The Durban hosts continued to build pressure, but the Birds had a couple of promising forays on the counter, including a shot from substitute Kagiso Malinga which flashed just wide on 82 minutes, before Ruzaigh Gamildien missed a virtual open goal on 86 minutes.
Swallows will be back in DStv Premiership action with a match at home to Maritzburg United on December 15, while Arrows will be away to Durban rivals AmaZulu the following day.
Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Sibiya 31’)Moroka Swallows (1) 1 (Mbokoma 23’)TEAMS:
Golden Arrows: Mlungwana, M. Dube, Sibisi, Mathiane, Lunga, Shitolo, Ndwandwe (Parusnath 81’), Makhubela, Mmodi, Sibiya (Conco 63’), M. Gumede (Mutizwa 66’)
Swallows: Vries, Mere, Letlabika, Ngcobo, Matlaba, Thibedi (Seabi 57’), Mthethwa, Mbokoma (Malinga 75’), Gamildien (Mosadi 88’), Mahlatsi (Mhlongo 57’), Mokoena