AmaZulu win KZN derby
Posted: 8 April 2009 Time: 17:13
AmaZulu confirmed their status as the form team of the Absa Premiership when they beat KwaZulu/Natal rivals Golden Arrows 1-0 at the Chatsworth Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Brad Ritson’s goal just before half time secured a fifth straight victory for Usuthu, who look set to finish well inside the top half of the table if they keep up their current momentum.
Arrows, meanwhile, look a shadow of the team that was so impressive in the early stages of the season. This was their third straight home defeat after losses to Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits in recent weeks.
Both sides were intent on playing positive attacking football and the shots started to come in from the early minutes. Initially at least, neither Helton Da Rocha in the Arrows goal nor AmaZulu’s Kakonje Kalililo were put under particular threat, but as the half wore on the attacking players put the pressure on the ‘keepers.
Papi Zothwane, making his first starting appearance for more than a year, crashed a shot into the crossbar on 26 minutes and just past the half hour mark Richard Henyekane forced a good save from Kalililo.
On 36 minutes AmaZulu should have taken the lead when Belux Bukasa Kasonga got on the end of Bafo Biyela’s corner kick, but the defender was unable to direct his header on target.
Just before half time Usuthu broke the deadlock through Ritson. The 27-year-old striker latched onto a ball won by Nhlanhla Zwane and fired it beyond Da Rocha to put the visitors 1-0 up heading into the break.
After the break Abafana Bes’thende looked determined to find a way back into the game, but they found the resilient AmaZulu defence difficult to break down. Papi Zothwane should have made more of a good chance in the 66th minute, allowing Kalililo to make a comfortable save.
Four minutes later Thunduyise Khuboni fired a shot wide of the visitors goal from just 12 yards out, before Kola blasted a long range effort off target.
But while Arrows began to throw number forward in the last quarter of the game, AmaZulu looked dangerous on the break, and probably should have doubled their lead on 75 minutes only for Dumisani Ngwenya to shoot wide from a fine opportunity.
Two minutes later Arrows substitute Tshepo Mashego missed a gilt-edged chance to bring his side level from Joseph Musonda’s cross.
One of the last chances of the game fell to AmaZulu defender Pere Ariweriyai, but he was unable to test Da Rocha with his header after meeting Japhet Zwane’s corner kick.