The Durban side put in a spirited performance and were unlucky not to get anything from the game, but in the end Mabuthi Khenyeza’s strike just before the break was enough to earn Amakhosi all three points.
Overall, the opening stanza saw Amakhosi slightly in the ascendancy as they looked more threatening when pushing forward in attack. A sixth minute chance fell to their Ghanaian defender Jonathan Quartey, but a rush of blood to the youngster’s head saw his shot from well outside the box skew off his foot and go well wide of the target.
Dumisani Ngwenya came close for the KZN side in the 16th minute when his speculative curling shot dipped just over Ithumeleng Khune’s cross bar. It was Chiefs however who were applying more of the pressure and they had another chance when David Mathebula cut inside from the right and fired in a powerful shot, but his effort was blocked by keeper Kalilio Kakonje.
A rare foray up field for the visitors allowed Siyabonga Mkhwanazi to control the ball nicely on his chest, but the volley that followed cleared the cross bar by some distance. Khenyeza was looking lively for the Soweto giants up front and after coming close in the 42nd minute, it was the former Golden Arrows man who broke the deadlock just before half time.
A cross from Omnisor Bhasera found its way to Khenyeza via the head of Simphiwe Tshabalala and some clumsy defending allowed the striker to smack the ball past Kakonje with an angled shot from 10-yards out.
The goal was Khenyeza’s third in his last three games and seven minutes into the second half he could have made it four were it not for an unkind bounce at a crucial moment inside the box.
Three minutes later Ngwenya had no such problems when he received a cross from Thabo Mabaso, but having been allowed to turn inside the box, he sent his shot soaring over the goal.
Thuso Phala was introduced into the match by Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral to inject some more life into the Amakhosi attack, and the former Platinum Stars man came close in the 66th minute when he was put through on goal, but his well-struck shot was saved by Kakonje.
While Amakhosi held the advantage, the possibility of an equaliser was always on the cards as the visitors refused to accept defeat and only an outstanding diving save from Khune prevented an AmaZulu player getting on the end of a dangerous cross by Wilfred Mathopa.
Usuthu’s search for an equaliser was always likely to leave them vulnerable to the counter-attack and Chiefs nearly profited from this situation in the 92nd minute when Phala showed great pace down the flank before picking out Kaizer Motaung Jr, but Kakonje did very well to smother his shot.
Motaung did manage to get the ball in the back of the net in the dying seconds, but while his goal was ruled off-side, The Amakhosi did not need the insurance of a second goal as the final whistle blew shortly afterwards.