AmaZulu FC secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Black Leopards in a 2020-21 DStv Premiership match at Thohoyandou Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Victory moved Usuthu up to third on the league standings – level on points with second-placed Golden Arrows, while Lidoda Duvha remain in bottom spot, four points from safety.
Usuthu, who came into this match having won four successive league games, started the encounter brightly with Luvuyo Memela and Augustine Mulenga combining well in the Lidoda Duvha half.
The visitors were awarded a free-kick in a promising area following one of their attacks and Memela’s effort from the resulting set-piece found Lehlohonolo Majoro, who directed the ball wide in the 15th minute.
Siphesihle Maduna, who had netted his maiden goal of the season against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila on March 21, tried to beat Leopards goalkeeper Jonas Mendes from range in the 37th minute, but his attempt missed the target.
The hosts did threaten two minutes later when Rodney Ramagalela pulled the trigger from range and the experienced striker’s powerful shot was well saved by new Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Veli Mothwa of AmaZulu.
At the other end, AmaZulu left-back Sibusiso Mabiliso’s thunderbolt was superbly saved by Guinea Bissau international Mendes on the stroke of halftime and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
Usuthu controlled the match after the restart following their halftime team talk with coach Benni McCarthy and the visitors managed to break the deadlock with Mulenga grabbing his seventh league assist of the season.
The Zambia International set-up Siyethemba Sithebe, who hit the back of the net to hand AmaZulu a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute, with the attacking midfielder netting his second league goal of the campaign.
AmaZulu continued to launch attacks after taking the lead, but they were wasteful in front of goal as Memela failed to score after rounding Mendes.
Roderick Kabwe, who netted against Mamelodi Sundowns on March 21, and Themba Ndlovu were introduced by the Leopards technical team as the hosts looked to snatch a late equalising goal.
However, AmaZulu defended very well in the closing stages of the encounter and ultimately, they emerged 1-0 winners over Leopards on the day.
Black Leopards (0) 0
AmaZulu (0) 1 (Sithebe 57′)
Black Leopards: Mendes, Makobela, Khumalo, Masia, Gyimah, Abubakar (Maluleka 85′), Mthethwa, Ramagalela, Anas (T.Ndlovu 74′), Hlongwane (Kabwe 74′), Karuru.
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Mabiliso, Mzava, Xoki, Makhaula, Maduna (Chawapiwa 70′), Sithebe (Mgwazela 85′), Majoro (Ntuli 85′), Memela (Qalinge 70′), Mulenga (Kewuti 70′).