PRETORIA: Liberian Anthony Laffor snatched the winner as Mamelodi Sundowns gained a lucky 1-0 win over 10-man Golden Arrows Friday in a South African FA Cup last-16 tie.
Durban-based Arrows hit the woodwork three times and had Masonwabe Bovu harshly sent off just after half-time before former Liberia captain Laffor struck nine minutes from time at Loftus Versfeld.
Laffor controlled a Tebogo Langerman cross superbly with his chest and although he did not connect cleanly with the ball, his shot found the net between a defender and goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede.
It was a cruel outcome for Arrows after Tshepo Liphoko, Thamsanqa Gabuza and outstanding defender Gift Sithole struck the crossbar and Bovu was expelled after a mistimed tackle led to a second caution.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said a midweek team visit to the cinema to watch airline thriller ‘Flight’ starring Denzel Washington lifted morale after two consecutive league losses.
“The movie helped us,” he said. “We played well last Sunday against SuperSport and lost and played less impressively against Arrows and won. It was not pretty football, but tonight was all about winning.”
Arrows coach Manqoba Mngqithi was furious: “This match was decided by the referee. We had a good game plan that worked well until a very harsh red card and the goal we conceded was soft.”
Pretoria outfit Sundowns are the third club to reach the quarter-finals of the richest national cup competition in Africa with a six million rand ($650,000/500,000 euros) first prize.
Title-holders SuperSport United, who defeated Sundowns 2-0 in the final last season, came from behind to oust second-tier Vasco da Gama 2-1 in Cape Town and Platinum Stars won 2-0 at fellow Premiership outfit Black Leopards. – AFP
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