Arrows rewrite history as they are crowned Diski Shield champions
GOLDEN ARROWS (1) (2)
Conco 8’ and 90’
MANELODI SUNDOWNS (1) (0)
Golden Arrows rewrote the history books of the reserve league as they became the first team to win the MultiChoice Diski Challenge and Diski Shield.
On Sunday, Arrows won the coveted Diski Shield competition, thanks to a 2-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. Coming into this encounter, there were no favourites as both teams had their own belief that they could be crowned champions. Sundowns were the big victors in the group stage –topping their Group with a 100% record after defeating Black Leopards, Baroka FC and Polokwane City.
Tshwane rivals, SuperSport United, couldn’t derail their plans in the semi-finals either, as Khomotjo Rachoene’s solitary strike ensured that they marched to their second successive Diski Shield final. Arrows were not intimidated though. Abafana Bes’thende had a better goal difference than any other team in the competition – scoring 11 goals in the last four matches, while outgoing Precious Find of the Season Siboniso Conco had seven strikes. But there was more to the game than the coveted Diski Shield trophy – Pride, egos and bragging rights were all on the line.
Two seasons ago, the Brazilians were dethroned as the Diski Challenge kings by Abafana Bes’thende. The team from the Nation’s Capital got off to a flyer through Rachoene who capitalised on defensive mistake by Mfanafuthi Mkhize before slotting past Sifiso Mlungwana. But Conco, produced yet another big match temperament performance, as he intercepted Keagan Allan’s back-pass before slotting past an onrushing Jayvin Chislom.
It was an end-to-end stuff leading to the break as both goalkeepers, Chislom and Mlungwana, had to be at their best to keep out the team’s potent attackers at bay, and ensuring that they went into the interval level. Rachoene nearly doubled his effort in the second half but only to be denied by woodwork with Mlungwana well beaten. With a minute to regulation time, Conco won Abafana Bes’thende a penalty as Sundowns’ tired legs had given in. Conco, dusted himself off and sent Arrows to their third championship in five seasons.
Meanwhile, SuperSport United claimed their third spot following a 2-0 victory over Orlando Pirates in the third/fourth place playoffs. Captain Felix Noge marshalled play in the engine room with his feet and his efforts paid off in the second half, as he had Pirates and their supporters eating from the palm of his hand.
Noge opened the scoring for SuperSport with a low dipping header after being teed by Tendamudzimu Matodzi. But the 21-year-old brought a roar at King Zwelithini with his second strike – as he unleashed a long-range strike from his own half that beat Alexi Appollonatos, who was way off his line, to ensure that his team finished third.@MihlaliBaleka