Usuthu beaten again
Posted: 21 August 2012 Time: 21:37
After their 6-0 loss to Kaizer Chiefs earlier this month, AmaZulu suffered a second successive loss when they were beaten 2-0 by KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United.
A second defeat is certainly not the response coach Roger Palmgren would have been looking for after the opening Premiership weekend.
The Team of Choice were deserved winners, with both goals coming from Cuthbert Malajila, who appears to be carrying on with the good form he showed at the end of last season.
Some nerves in the AmaZulu defence almost cost them dearly early on, as goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela gifted the ball straight to Malajila with a poor pass, but the Zimbabwean was unable to find the target from a tight angle.
AmaZulu struggled to find any kind of rhythm in open play, with their tactic of looking for lone striker Sifiso Vilakazi with long balls failing to trouble Maritzburg's defence.
However, Vilakazi did have a decent chance on 16 minutes when he got on the end of a free-kick from Prince Hlela but he headed over the bar.
Two minutes later the hosts threatened to open the scoring when a well-placed Delron Buckley cross allowed Malajila to set up Mthokozisi Yende with a shooting chance, but the on-loan Kaizer Chiefs midfielder pulled his effort wide of the mark.
The only shot on target in the first half came in the 33rd minute from AmaZulu right-back Tsweu Mokoro, a dipping long range effort that bounced awkwardly in front of United goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters and deflected to safety off his shoulder.
Both sides made attacking substitutions at the start of the second half. Maritzburg withdrew David Booysen and put on Orlando Smeekes, while Usuthu brought on Ayanda Dlamini in place of Stanley Kgatla, who seemed to be struggling with an injury toward the end of the first stanza.
On 65 minutes Maritzburg finally got the breakthrough their superior play deserved.
Buckley worked his way into a shooting position and tested Mzimela with a low drive – the goalkeeper kept the ball out, but Malajila reacted quickest to the rebound to score his first goal of the season.
And his second followed just 12 minutes later, as the striker sprung the offside trap, raced onto a through ball from Yende, and coolly chipped the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper to find the back of the net via the inside of the upright.