AN 81st minute Anthony Laffor strike secured a 1-0 victory for Mamelodi Sundowns over Lamontville Golden Arrows in a last 16 Nedbank Cup tie at Loftus stadium on Friday night.
The victory keeps the inaugural winners of the competition on course to claim the trophy for a second time.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane made one change to the side that lost 1-0 to Tshwane rivals SuperSport United on Sunday. Samuel Julies replaced Anthony Laffor in midfield.
Sundowns beat Ajax Cape Town 1-0 to progress to the last 16 of the tournament, while Golden Arrows qualified for the last 16 of the Nebank Cup after thrashing lower league side Vardos FC 4-0.
Abafana Bes’thende went into the game looking to extend their unbeaten streak against Sundowns this season to three games.
Both sides started the game off slowly, choosing to control the ball at the back and patiently move their way into the opposition box.
Thamsanqa Gabuza had the first chance of the match in the 15th minute. The Golden Arrows striker pounced on a Wayne Sandilands mistake but could only manage to shoot wide of goal.
The fear of conceding a goal was clearly visible from both sides as both teams chose to drop deep when the opposition had possession.
Nyasha Mushekwi had the Brazilians’ first chance of the match in the 25th minute. The striker drove a low shot at goal but it was brilliantly kept out by Nkosingiphile Gumede.
Two minutes later Golden Arrows went very close to opening the scoring through Tshepo Liphoko. The midfielder hit a fierce shot from well outside the area and only a superb save from Sandilands kept the scores level. The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper tipped the ball onto the frame of the goal.
Gabuza once again rattled the post in the 43rd minute of the match. The forward broke down the left flank and hit a fierce shot, which beat a helpless Sandilands but not the corner of the frame.
The half ended goalless with Golden Arrows producing the best chances of the match. Abafana Bes’thende were unlucky not to be a goal up on last year’s runners-up.
Arrows suffered a severe blow at the start of the second half as Masonwabe Bovu was given his marching orders in the 47th minute of the match for a second bookable offence.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Arrows produced the first chance of the second stanza. Gift Sithole found himself unmarked in the area from a free-kick but he only found the crossbar with his powerful header in the 56th minute.
Substitute Anthony Laffor opened the scoring on the night in the 81st minute of the match. The Liberian midfielder controlled a Tebogo Langerman cross with his chest before striking a right footed shot into the back of the net.
The Brazilians held on for the victory and subsequently progress to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Mamelodi Sundows (0) 1 (Laffor 81’)
Golden Arrows 0
Mamelodi Sundows: Sandilands; Schut, Arendse, Mphahlele, Kekana, Shongwe, Julies (Modise 76’), Mushekwi, Langerman, Manqele, Henyekane (Laffor 45’)
Golden Arrows: Gumede; Zwane, Sithole, Musonda, Nene, Bovu, Khuboni, Bilankulu, Liphoko (Shange 73’), Ntuli (Smith 60’), Gabuza (Nguzana 87’)-Backpage TXT