Malajila earns Downs the points
Posted: 24 February 2015 Time: 19:00
Cuthbert Malajila's solitary goal earned Mamelodi Sundowns three valuable points against relegation-threatened AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday night.
Usuthu started the better side and pressed the Brazilians whenever they were in possession, forcing them back into their own half for large periods of the opening 20 minutes.
Steve Barker's side clearly looked like a team in a relegation scrap, pumping long-throws into the Sundowns box at every opportunity.
After a few weak or wayward shots at goal from both sides, Sundowns started to take control of the game, with Kudakwashe Mahachi looking the most likely to open the scoring.
First the Zimbabwean ran onto Teko Modise's deft through-ball into the box and fired just wide with a snap-shot on his left foot, then he hit a left-footed daisy-cutter from 25 yards out against the right-hand upright.
The teams headed into the tunnel still goalless, but with the promise of a more open second half as both sides need three points.
The second half started at greater tempo as both teams knew what was at stake, and it was Sundowns who finally took a good chance that fell for them.
Top scorer Cuthbert Malajila provided a cool finish with his instep from the right side of the penalty area after great work from Mahachi to drive through the centre and hit a deflected shot that fell into goal-poacher's path.
Four minutes later Modise hit the right-hand upright after a header in the box and instinctively volleying towards goal, before Billiat hit the rebound straight at Aubrey Mathibe, who was on the ground.
AmaZulu threw numbers forward as they chased the game and looked vulnerable on the counter-attack on a few occasions, but Sundowns could not add a second goal.
Pitso Mosimane's side managed to see out the final minutes relatively comfortably as they held on to secure three points that take them 10 points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
Usuthu look dead and buried already and remain on nine points from 19 matches, 10 points adrift of safety.
Coach: Steve Barker
Formation: three five two
AWAY: Mamelodi Sundowns
Coach: Pitso Mosimane
Formation: four two three one