Usuthu thump Thanda

The result follows on from the 6-1 embarrassment Amabhubesi suffered against Bloemfontein Celtic on January 25, and, just as they did last season, the club appears to be set for a relegation battle. AmaZulu could well have found themselves in a similar position, particularly as they had lost their last three PSL games in a row, but this victory lifts them to the relative safety of 10th position on the log.

It is just Usuthu's second away victory all season but, against a team that has the worst home record in the top flight, Clive Barker's charges were deserved victors. Thanda have now played nine games at 'home' (a relative term in the PSL considering the shortage of suitable venues) and won just twice.

The first genuine effort on goal arrived in the fifth minute and saw Thanda's Felix Obada try his luck from 20 metres, but AmaZulu backup goalkeeper Mashudu Mamphitha easily collected the ball.

The visitors' Dumisani Ngwenya looked to have a shooting chance in the 11th minute, but Joseph Kibe did well to come across and make an important block. Seven minutes later Nhlanhla Zwane went close with a right-footed drive that skidded just the wrong side of the upright.

On the 20 minute mark Thanda's Mandla Tsengwa made his first save of the match, plucking Ngwenya's curling free kick out of the air as Usuthu dominated possession against their KwaZulu-Natal rivals.

AmaZulu were rewarded for their ascendancy in the 28th minute when Thabo Mabaso opened the scoring. The midfielder swept the ball home from close range after Tsengwa had parried Ngwenya's shot on goal.

Zwane and Ngwenya both went close with long efforts not long after their team had taken the lead, but the hosts should have gained parity in the 37th minute. A corner kick from Bongani Mbhele was poorly defended by AmaZulu but Clement Mazibuko was unable to guide his shot on target.

Another Mbhele corner just before half time handed veteran Peter Ndlovu a similar scoring chance but he was guilty of the same crime as Mazibuko, while, at the other end, Ngwenya also spurned a good opportunity to add to his side's lead. The score was 1-0 in favour of AmaZulu at the break.

Seven minutes after the restart Mbhele got on the end of a good cross from Mazibuko but again Thanda were left to rue an effort that failed to hit the target. A short while later Obada added to their ever increasing 'shots off target' tally.

AmaZulu also missed out on a few decent scoring opportunities but on 66 minutes they finally added to their tally, with Ngwenya ramming the ball past Tsengwa after a good cross from Sthembiso Dlamini on the left flank.

Substitute Bradley Riston added the third with just three minutes of regulation time remaining, drilling a shot into the top corner after more good set-up play by Dlamini.

Courtesy of Backpagepix