Kaizer Chiefs’ chances of finishing second in the DStv Premiership took a knock with a disheartening 3-2 defeat to spirited Golden Arrows at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday.
Arrows came from a goal down twice thanks to a brace by Knox Mutizwa (69th and 78th minutes) and a goal from the outstanding and skilful Ntsako Makhubela (45th + 1).
Sifiso Hlanti (eighth) and Mduduzi Shabalala (47th) scored in each half for Chiefs but Amakhosi failed to hold onto their leads for a victory.
The match was a dress rehearsal for Amakhosi for their the Soweto derby against their nemesis Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Chiefs remain in fifth place while Arrows climbed to the ninth spot.
Chiefs made a great start to the clash in Polokwane as they dominated the men from KwaZulu-Natal from the early moments.
Former Bafana Bafana defender Hlanti gave Amakhosi the lead in the ninth minute with a well-taken header from a Keagan Dolly corner.
Dolly was unlucky not to double the lead for Chiefs after his brilliant shot at goal hit the crossbar.
Arrows looked disjointed for the opening 30 minutes of the game — if Chiefs were sharp enough they could have put the affair beyond Abafana Bes’thende’s reach during that period.
But the Soweto giants failed to use that advantage despite producing a few chances that, had they been converted, could have built scoreboard pressure.
Arrows’ technical team led by co-coaches Vusumuzi Vilakazi and Mabhuti Khenyeza did not wait long to rectify the failures of their struggling midfield.
They brought in Siyabonga Khumalo for Lungelo Dube in the 34th minute and the former gave Arrows some bite in the middle of the park.
That change seemed to bring the Durbanites on par with Chiefs.
As a result, the Durban team were able to launch their attacks and were rewarded when Makhubela equalised on the stroke of halftime.
Enterprising and skilful young forward Shabalala gave Amakhosi the lead two minutes into the final half.
With Chiefs ahead with just 22 minutes left to play, coach Arthur Zwane opted to take off influential attackers Christian Saile and Shabalala for striker Caleb Bimenyimana and midfielder Phathutshedzo Nange.
A minute later Arrows equalised through Mutizwa who scored a beautiful goal inside the box with Khumalo providing the assist.
The changes by Zwane disturbed Chiefs’ ability to attack and Abafana Bes’thende piled on more pressure as they continued their search for a third goal.
Makhubela, who has been given all the freedom to express himself the way he wants to by Arrows’ brains trust, scythed through Chiefs’ left side, going past a few players including Hlanti to set up Mutizwa for the winner. TimesLIVE