Usuthu jump to third with narrow win

Premiership

AmaZulu surged into third spot on the DStv Premiership standings with a 1-0 win over Black Leopards on Sunday afternoon.

Usuthu missed Thembela Sikhakhane and Xola Mlambo through suspension, but included Sphesihle Maduna and Limbikani Mzava as Leopards had Roderick Kabwe on the bench.

A spell of confusion in Usuthu’s defensive third almost led the host in, but the danger was cleverly dealt with by Mbongeni Gumede and Tapelo Xoki amongst others.

Usuthu gathered control following the opening minutes and brought striker Lehlohonolo Majoro in on goal from a free-kick by Luvuyo Memela, but the headed attempt from the former went wide.

Confidence from Usuthu grew stronger and stronger towards the break, as a speculative shot from close-range by Maduna narrowly evaded the intended target.

Lidoda Duvha reclaimed control with five minutes to the interval and witnessed a cracking strike outside the area from Rodney Ramagalela rattling the palms of goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.

Similarly, Usuthu also threatened the breakthrough with an equally powerful shot by Maduna a minute before halftime but it was dealt with by goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.

AmaZulu broke the deadlock 12 minutes following the restart through a smartly taken finish from Siyethemba Sithebe after Lidoda Duvha went to sleep at the back.

It could’ve been two within the matter of minutes for Usuthu courtesy of Memela but after he rounded Mendes, drilled the attempt wide of goal.

Three substitutions from the visitors with 20 minutes to go had Zukile Kewuti, Talent Chawapihwa and new signing Thabo Qalinge introduced.

Lidoda Duvha urged numbers forward in order to grab the equaliser with time running out, but Usuthu controlled matters to secure victory and move to third spot on the table.

Confirmed line-ups:

Leopards: Mendes, Makobela, Khumalo, Masia, Gyimah, Abubakar, Mthethwa, Ramagalela, Anas, Hlongwane, Karuru.

Subs: Ndlovu, Masalesa, Sampson, Mokoena, Maluleke, Kabwe, Ndlovu, Ononogbu, Mathenjwa.

AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Mabiliso, Mzava, Xoki, Makhaula, Maduna, Sithebe, Majoro, Memela, Mulenga.

Subs: Boshoff, Mgwazela, Masilela, Kewuti, Tshabalala, Qalinge, Chawaphiwa, Ntuli, Mthembu.

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