Kaizer Chiefs’ woeful form continued on Wednesday afternoon when they were beaten 2-1 by AmaZulu in a DStv Premiership match at the FNB Stadium.
The Amakhosi, who ended the game with 10 men and suffered the ignominy of having former player Lehlohonolo Majoro score the decisive goal, have now suffered three straight losses across all competitions and gone four league matches without a win. They remain in ninth place on the log.
Usuthu, by contrast, have won four of their last five league matches and have risen to sixth place – seven points ahead of their vanquished opponents.
The early exchanges saw neither team take control of the game, though Chiefs were dealt an injury blow when youngster Happy Mashiane limped off to be replaced by Lebogang Manyama with just 15 minutes on the clock.
Three minutes later AmaZulu had the first shot on target, with Luvoyo Memela latching onto a loose ball in the penalty area and firing an effort at goal, but Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was well positioned to make the save.
Just past the half hour mark Usuthu threatened again, with Augustine Mulenga striking a fierce long-range effort which had the beating of Khune all ends up but rebounded off the crossbar – a few centimetres lower and it would have been a spectacular opener.
Chiefs had few clear chances in attack, with their best effort – a long range shot from makeshift midfielder Daniel Cardoso which flew into the stands on 44 minutes – reflecting a lack of penetration from the hosts through the first half.
It appeared the interval would arrive with the game still goalless, but AmaZulu claimed the lead in injury time. Siphelele Mthembu set up Siphelele Magubane with a clear sight of goal and the attacker saw his effort cleared off the line by Eric Mathoho, only for Mulenga to turn home the rebound and ensure a 1-0 lead for the visitors at the break.
AmaZulu had chances to add to their lead within the opening 20 minutes of the second half, with Mthembu unable to get the better of Khune from two good opportunities, and those misses came back to haunt the visitors when Chiefs equalised midway through the half.
Tapelo Xoki was guilty of pulling back Samir Nurkovic in the 18-yard area, leading to a spot kick for the Amakhosi. Substitute Leonardo Castro tucked home the penalty to make it 1-1 on 67 minutes.
Usuthu almost restored their lead in the 71st minute, with a slick attacking move giving Magubane space to shoot on the left of the penalty area but he saw his left-footed shot rebound off the underside of the crossbar.
Yet that attacking move did yield some advantage for the visitors, as Chiefs’ Darrel Matsheke was booked for a clumsy foul on Mulenga in the build-up, earning himself a dismissal for two yellow cards.
With a numerical advantage, AmaZulu pushed on for a win and were rewarded for their endeavour in the 86th minute. Khune came well off his line to punch clear a corner kick, but only succeeded in pushing the ball up into the air, and former Chiefs man Lehlohonolo Majoro provided a masterful volleyed finish from a difficult position to make it 2-1 to the Durban side.
Chiefs nearly snatched an equaliser in injury time at the end of the game when Nurkovic got on the end of a free kick from Reeve Frosler, but his header was well saved by Veli Mothwa to secure all three points for the visitors.
Chiefs will be back in Premiership action on Saturday with a match at home to SuperSport United, while AmaZulu’s next league clash is also against SuperSport, scheduled for 2 March.
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Castro 67’ pen)
AmaZulu (1) 2 (Mulenga 45+2’, Majoro 86’)
Chiefs: Khune, Ngezana, Cardoso (Blom 46’), Mathoho, Mphahlele, Frosler, Matsheke, Ngcobo (Katsande 78’), Zulu, Mashiane (Manyama 16’ [Castro 62’]), Nurkovic
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Mgwazela (Mzava 59’), Gumede, Xoki, Mabiliso, Makhehlene, Kewuti (Majoro 76’), Magubane (Maduna 83’), Memela (Mlambo 60’), Mulenga, Mthembu (Ntuli 83’)