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Golden Arrows set for best finish in South Africa

Johannesburg (AFP) – Pule Mmodi scored a superb goal as third-place Golden Arrows stayed on track for their highest South African Premiership finish by hammering TS Galaxy 3-0 in Durban on Wednesday.

Mmodi claimed his fifth league goal of the season with an unstoppable half volley from just outside the box that flew past goalkeeper Marlon Heugh into the roof of the net.

His memorable 32nd-minute strike gave Arrows a two-goal lead after Michael Gumede had netted on seven minutes off a cross from Zimbabwean Divine Lunga.

Ntsako Makhubela completed the rout after 61 minutes with a diving header as Arrows snapped a four-match winless run in the richest African league with a 15 million rand ($1,050 mn/875,000 euros) first prize.

Arrows have never finished higher than fifth, but wins over bottom-half clubs Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch in their remaining matches early next month will ensure fourth place at worst.

They are unique among the 16 top-flight clubs in having a female president, Mato Madlala, who is also a senior member of the organisation that runs the Premiership. 

Neither leaders Mamelodi Sundowns nor fourth-place Orlando Pirates were in action as they are preparing for CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals this weekend, as are Chiefs.

Second-place AmaZulu, another Durban club on the verge of a best Premiership finish after a 16-match unbeaten run, had a bye.

The top two finishers, almost certainly Sundowns and AmaZulu, will qualify for the 2022 Champions League while Arrows or Pirates are set to join FA Cup winners TTM in the Confederation Cup.

TTM, a second division club who joined the Premiership this season after buying the franchise of a disbanded club, took four points from two matches to boost hopes of avoiding relegation.

They fought a dour 0-0 draw with fellow Polokwane club Baroka on Tuesday, three days after edging Maritzburg United 1-0 through a superb solo goal from Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo.

With bottom club Black Leopards seemingly doomed to finish last and be automatically relegated, a battle rages above them to avoid coming second last and going playoffs with two second division sides. 

Chippa United are the current occupants of 15th position as a mini-revival under new Serbian coach Vladimir Heric ended with a 2-1 home loss to Bloemfontein Celtic.

Celtic, who began the match as the only Premiership side without an away win this season, came from behind with captain Ndumiso Mabena snatching the 75th-minute winner on the eve of his 34th birthday.

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