Arrows bag late point against Maritzburg

The hosts took the lead twice, through goals by Orlando Smeekes and Cuthbert Malajila, but it was not enough as substitute Ntuli grabbed a brace.

Maritzburg came into the game on the back of a loss to SuperSport United and were in need of a win to keep their dreams of a top four finish alive.

The Team of Choice started well, drawing first blood just nine minutes in, when Smeekes found the back of the net.

The Dutchman has been absent from the starting XI since November and could not have marked his return better, knocking home Delron Buckley’s cross from six yards out.

Dillon Sheppard then tried his luck from close range, but shot wide.

Maritzburg were conducting play well, but Arrows had two late first half attempts on goal. First, Tshepo Liphoko hit a right-footed effort that sailed over the crossbar six minutes before the break.

Then Shu-Aib Walters was tested by Masonwabe Bovu.

It was the midfielder’s final action of the game as he was subbed at half-time, when Arrows coach Manqoba Mngqithi opted for a double change. And it proved to be the correct decision as Ntuli drew his team level just two minutes after coming on.

Thanduyise Khuboni supplied a cross from the left, and Ntuli struck the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

The hosts’ response was immediate, as Cuthbert Malajila scored with a tap-in from six yards out.

Arrows continued to apply the pressure in search of an equaliser, but despite efforts from Liphoko and Ntuli they could not find the back of the net.

But Abafana Bes’thende caught a point at the death when Ntuli struck home a 90th minute equaliser off the rebound from Walters’ save, ending the game at 2-2.