Absa Premiership: Usuthu beat United to remian unbeaten in 2014
AmaZulu remained unbeaten in 2014 after beating Supersport United 1-0 in the Absa Premiership encounter played at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on Tuesday night.
AmaZulu, who drew against Orlando Pirates last week, needed a late second-half goal by Ayanda Dlamini to snatch maximum points away from home. The win takes Graig Rosslee’s men to 4th on the log with 24 points after 17 matches, while Cavin Johnson’ side drop one place down to 5th with 23 points from 15 matches.
Supersport United were without their Ghanaian defensive midfielder Edwin Gymah, who picked up a knock in their last match against Orlando Pirates, and youngster Morne Nel took his place.
Usuthu on the other side, were still without their injured goalkeeper and captain Tapiwa Kapini, with second-choice Aubrey Mathibe benched and Philani Zikalala made a rare start between the sticks.
The home side started the brighter of the two sides, keeping the visiting goalkeeper Philani Zikalala busy with clearance in the opening stages of the match. But when AmaZulu created their first chance they almost scored when Bongani Ndulula saw his effort clip the upright on its way out from the edge of the area after a great pass from Goodman Dlamini in the 18th minutes.
Supersport United were also denied by the frame of the goal when their super-kid Skhumbuso Mazibuko unleashed a long range effort that clipped the crossbar and went out for a goal-kick six minutes later.
After that, both sides didn’t create clear-cut chances, with both defences able to close each other down. But the visitors came threatening again in the 39th minute when Bonginkosi Dlamini’ cross from the right flank found Ayanda Dlamini unmarked in the area but the striker shot straight at Ronwen Williams from a point-blank range.
In the stroke of half-time, Matsatsantsa almost went to the break with the lead when Mame Niang rose the highest in the area to connect with Sibusisio Khumalo’s delivery, but the Senegalese’ header went inched wide as both teams went back to the dressing rooms locked at 0-0.
The second-half started in the slow tempo, and both teams rang changes before the hour-mark, with United bringing on Bennett Chenene for Thabiso Nkoana, while AmaZulu brought on new signing Nhlamhla Shabalala in the place of John Arwuah as both coaches looked for the opening goal.
In the hour-mark, left-back Sibusiso Khumalo had a swerving long range shot from 30-yards out after Morne Nel played the ball in his path with a header, but the stinging shot didn’t trouble Philani Zikalala as he gathered the ball with ease.
The visitors had little impact since the start of the second stanza, and Supersport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams having none to do in the first 25 minutes of the half. Morne Nel almost caught Philani Zikalala unaware when he chipped the ball over the ‘keeper from the edge of the area, but his effort went narrowly over the bar, before Bongani Ndulula shot way off target from inside the area 20 minutes from time.
Cavin Johnson was forced to make a change in the 75th minutes when Sibusiso Khumalo picked up an injury and was stretched off to be replaced by teenage left-back Brandon Dean. The injury proved to have been a setback for the home side when AmaZulu took the lead with three minutes left to play.
Bevan Fransman’s pass was intercepted by Khulekani Madondo in the middle of the park, and pin point passed Ayanda Dlamini who took a first-time shot past on-rushing Ronwen Wiliams, 0-1.
Supersport United almost equalised a minute later when Lebogonng Manyama’s cross from the right flank was headed just wide by second-half substitute Dino Ndlovu. On the other end of the field, Ayanda Dlamini almost scored a brace and kill the tie but fired wide from outside the area in the 90th minutes.
The fourth official raised the board showing five minutes of added time, but Usuthu held on for a win away from home.
Supersport United: Williams, Moeketsi, Fransman, Khumalo (Dean 75’), Diouf, Mkhabela, Nel, Nkoana (Chenene 56’), Manyama, Nkoana, Mazibuko (Ndlovu 63’), Niang.
AmaZulu: Zikalala, Macala, Nyadombo, Teyise, Van Heerden, Dlamini, Madondo, Arwuah ( Shabalala 59’), Manqana (Mthiyane 85’), Dlamini, Ndulula (Mwedihanga 90+1’).