It was a game of few clear-cut chances, but Usuthu had most of them and were worthy winners thanks to a goal in his first start from 26-year-old striker Bradley Ritson.
Thanda, who had two wins from two – including the scalp of Kaizer Chiefs – prior to the game, were disappointing, barely troubling Kalilo Kakonje in the home goal.
Ritson got his side off the perfect start on nine minutes as he ran on to Jan Sillo’s pass and fired into the top corner of the net with a clinical finish.
Veteran Zimbabwean Peter Ndlovu might have equalised soon afterward when he had two chances in quick succession. His initial shot was blocked by defender Mark van Heerden, while the follow-up was saved by Kakonje.
Ritson did excellently to set up Myron Shongwe for what should have been the second goal for Usuthu just before halftime. The former Black Leopards striker shot too close to Aubrey Mathibe however, with time, space and the goal at his mercy.
A brilliant back-heel from Shongwe on 65 minutes put Mohammed-Awal Issah through on goal, but with just Mathibe to beat, the Ghanaian skewed his shot wide.
Sean Dundee entered the fray on 76 minutes to make his debut in South African domestic football as he replaced Shongwe and his excellent touch almost set up Thabo Mabaso, but the midfielder had the ball nicked away from him before he could shoot.