Usuthu snap 7-game winless streak


AmaZulu snapped their seven-match winless run in the DStv Premiership with a 1-0 victory over Marumo Gallants FC on Friday evening.

Gallants recalled Katlego Otladisa and Sede Dion, while Usuthu showed six changes in Neil Boshoff, Tapelo Xoki, Tercious Malepe, Keagan Buchanan, Luvuyo Memela and Bonginkosi Ntuli.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa did all the probing inside the opening minutes, but it was Usuthu that came closest to the lead when Lehlohonolo Majoro sliced a low ball from Memela inches wide.

Marumo refused to be kept quiet with 20 minutes gone following the near scare and threatened too after Otladisa curled a ball from outside the area narrowly wide of the near corner.

As Marumo enjoyed the lion share of chances, Usuthu were forced into a substitution 33 minutes in after Siyethemba Sithebe succumbed to an injury and in came Thabo Qalinge.

This didn’t affect the momentum of play after Marumo carved out another chance through a rasping shot on the edge of the area from Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo on the stroke of halftime.

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Benni McCarthy’s men began to show intent ten minutes from the break and reduced goalkeeper Washington Arubi to a point-blank save from a header by Memela following a free-kick.

Chances continued to go both ways moments later, with Boshoff forced to stretch wide to turn Otladisa’s left-footed strike behind for a corner-kick.

Another opening followed and it dawned on Usuthu minutes apart when Majoro drifted to the back-post to head a floating ball from a corner inches from the target.

With under four minutes to play, Usuthu hit the breakthrough after Thembela Sikhakhane sneaked into the area to head home Buchanan’s free-kick.

Marumo looked to draw level immediately with time running out, but Usuthu kept clam to see out the win and ended their run of seven straight draws.

Confirmed line-ups:

Gallants: Arubi, Nkili, Kgoetyane, Mabotja, Nonyane, Timm, Otladisa, Ngema, Ndlondlo, Mnyamane, Dion.

Subs: Ndlovu, Ntshangase, Lamola, Mvelase, Makudubela, Mphambaniso, Ravhuhali, Kumalo, Gumede.

AmaZulu: Boshoff, Sikhakhane, Malepe, Xoki, Gumede, Makhaula, Buchanan, Sithebe, Memela, Ntuli, Majoro.

Subs: Amonome, Khumalo, Zulu, Mgwazela, Moremi, Ekstein, Qalinge, Mthembu, De Jong.