Maritzburg end dream season with Arrows draw

Pietermaritzburg – Golden Arrows ensured they finished in the top eight after battling to a 1-1 draw against Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday.

Arrows started well and took the lead from a counter-attack that ended with Lerato Lamola finishing from close range.

The Team of Choice were rewarded for fighting back in the second half when Fortune Makaringe lashed in a loose ball from a corner.

The result, coupled by others around the country on the final day, was enough to see Abafana Bes'thende end in seventh place. United finished fourth and still have the Nedbank Cup final against Free State Stars to look forward to next week.

There were chances at both ends early on as Velemseni Ndwandwe fired over and Jabulani Shongwe then curled a free-kick straight into the arms of Richard Ofori.

At the other end, Pogiso Sanoka nodded Deolin Mekoa's free-kick wide, with the latter also volleying a loose ball over from the left side of the box.

But just as the hosts were growing in confidence, they were hit on the counter as Lehlohonolo Nonyane escaped down the left and crossed to the centre where Lamola pounced from close range.

Lebohang Maboe and Bandile Shandu were both given space to shoot before the break, but sent their efforts over, as the hosts trailed at the break.

A strong start to the second half meant there was a decent early chance for Shandu, but the ball bounced awkwardly and was ballooned over.

The pressure continued from Maritzburg with substitute Mxolisi Kunene slipped through to the left by Siphesihle Ndlovu, but his shot from an angle was blocked by Nkosingiphile Gumede.

The Arrows keeper then produced a stunning one-handed save to deny Shandu, whose curler looked destined for the top corner.

The goal finally arrived with nine minutes to play – Kunene's corner not dealt with by the visiting defence and Makaringe lashed home the equaliser.

Despite pushing forward for the winner, the hosts almost conceded late on when Siphelele Magubane's strike from outside the box was tipped over, while Gumede also produced a finger-tip save at the death to deny Ndlovu.

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