Larsen: Scoring first key to victory

Nedbank Cup

Abafana Bes'thende were lucky not to see a penalty awarded against them in the closing minutes at Princess Magogo Stadium after Nkosinathi Mthiyane cleared the ball off the line with his hand, meaning Musa Bilankulu’s 39th-minute header would decide the tie.

READ: Larsen hails debutant Dlamini

That strike took Bilankulu’s tally in the competition this year to four goals, while also putting Arrows through to their first-ever Ke Yona semi-final.

And speaking ahead of tonight’s draw for the last-four, Larsen applauded his team's performance and says his main intention was to score first because he didn’t want his side to be chasing the game.

"I think we mentioned before the game that what was key was to get the first goal, and the last thing we wanted was to chase the game against the very experienced and talented Platinum Stars team," Larsen said after the game.

"We are happy. We worked hard on our set-pieces and once again we scored from the set-piece. But I thought the players really put in a good shift today.

"We also knew that in the last 20 or 30 minutes of the game, Henrico Botes will become a factor in the game. But I thought that [Nkanyiso] Mngwengwe in particular, and our goalkeeper [Nkosingiphile Gumede] dealt well with that threat. I'm just happy for the chairlady [Mato Madlala] and our supporters and most of all these players."

The draw for the semi-finals takes place in Johannesburg this evening, where Arrows join defending champions SuperSport United, Orlando Pirates and Chippa United in the hat.

Having defeated Maritzburg United in the first round before then dumping out African champions Mamelodi Sundowns and now Dikwena, Larsen, who has only one trophy as a coach - the Telkom Knockout with Bloemfontein Celtic in 2012 - says he's hoping for another home draw in order to keep the game compact at the Princess Magogo Stadium.

"We are just hoping for the home draw. The last time the same thing happened," he added.

"We hope for the home draw. You can't choose opponents at this stage of the cup, every single game it's difficult and we'll have to wait and see."

Up next for Abafana Bes'thende is an Absa Premiership clash against Polokwane City at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday, before resuming hostilities against Sundowns on Friday.

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