Golden Arrows struck a late equaliser to hold Baroka FC 1-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday and end the Limpopo side’s perfect start to the 2020-21 DStv Premiership.
Three Zimbabwe internationals Divine Lunga, Elvis Chipezeze and Knox Mutizwa featured in the game.
Bakgaga looked on course to make it three wins from as many games thanks to a goal early in the second half from Thamsanqa Masiya, but 10-man Abafana Bes’thende salvaged a share of the spoils thanks to Velemseni Ndwandwe’s injury-time strike.
Arrows were the first to threaten, with Pule Mmodi doing great work to open up space for a shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 11th minute, but he saw his effort turned away by Chipezeze.
Baroka were inches away from claiming the lead in the 19th minute, with Richard Mbulu seeing a shot deflect off Nkosinathi Sibisi before hitting the upright, with Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana left helpless.
The hosts soon suffered an injury blow, with Goodman Mosele limping off and replaced by Manuel Kambala in the 26th minute.
Arrows had the ball in the back of the net in the 39th minute after a beautiful passage of play involving Seth Parusnath, Mmodi, Ntsako Makhubela and finished off by Michael Gumede, but their celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.
Chipezeze made two further significant saves to deny Parusnath and Gumede in what remained of the first half, ensuring the game was goalless heading into the interval.
Bakgaga broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half, with Arrows caught napping at the back as Thamsanqa Masiya slipped free down the left channel and was able to send an effort beyond the reach of Mlungwana for 1-0.
Abafana Bes’thende sought an immediate reply through shots on target from Mmodi and Conco, but the ever-alert Chipezeze remained a tough man to beat, and further frustrated the visitors with his characteristic time-wasting antics.
And the Durban side’s hopes of a comeback took a major blow midway through the second half when defender Divine Lunga picked up a second yellow card and was sent for an early shower, leaving the visitors with 10 men for the remainder of the match.
Despite a numerical disadvantage, Arrows produced a manful effort to draw level and forced further saves from Chipezeze, before finally breaking through six minutes into added time, with Knox Mutizwa’s free kick setting up Ndwandwe to make it 1-1.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action later this month, with Arrows hosting Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, November 21 and Baroka visiting Limpopo rivals Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila the following day.
Baroka FC (0) 1 (Masiya 48’)
Golden Arrows (0) 1 (Ndwandwe 90+6’)
BAROKA: Chipezeze, Jampies, Gebhardt (Seema 79’), Sibiya, Makume, Masiya, Shozi, Mosele (Kambala 26’), Makgopa (Kgoetyane 79’), Mgaga, Mbulu (Patjie 90+1’)
ARROWS: Mlungwana, S. Dube, Sibisi, Mathiane, Lunga, Shitolo, Parusnath (Mutizwa 64’), Conco (Ndwandwe 64’), Makhubela, Mmodi, Gumede (Nkombelo 73’)