AmaZulu FC secured a 1-0 win over Lamontville Golden Arrows in a 2020-21 DStv Premiership match at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Saturday afternoon.
The victory took Usuthu to the top of the league standings — two points clear of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who will take on Orlando Pirates on Sunday.
Abafana Bes’thende remain third on the log as a result after succumbing to a defeat in the KwaZulu-Natal derby.
The two teams canceled each other out in the opening exchanges with Makhehlene Makhaula and Gladwin Shitolo battling for control of the midfield.
AmaZulu took control of the game towards the half-hour mark and they had an opportunity to take the lead, but Lehlohonolo Majoro was brilliantly denied by Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana.
Arrows were under pressure and the ball fell kindly for Majoro on the edge of the box in the 37th minute, but he curled the ball inches wide of the target, with Mlungwana rooted to the ground.
The visitors did get the goal they had been looking for on the stroke of halftime when Augustine Mulenga set up Luvuyo Memela, who beat Mlungwana with a low shot to hand AmaZulu a 1-0 lead.
Arrows saw most of the ball after the restart, but AmaZulu looked dangerous on the counter with Memela and Thabo Qalinge looking to use their pace to unlock the hosts’ defence.
Memela and Majoro combined well before the latter found himself in a one-on-one situation with Mlungwana in the 65th minute, but somehow the former Kaizer Chiefs striker placed his shot wide of the target.
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy then made a tactical change as he pulled out Memela and introduced defender Samkelo Mgwazela in his place as the visitors looked to protect their lead.
Usuthu defended very well in the closing proceedings with the likes of Mgwazela and Tapelo Xoki making some crucial clearances and interceptions at the back.
Ultimately, the match ended in a 1-0 victory in favour of AmaZulu with Makhaula, who had a great game in the middle of the park, being named man-of-the-match.
Arrows (0) 0
AmaZulu (1) 1 (Memela 45’+2)
Golden Arrows: Mlungwana, Sibisi, Lunga, Zuke, M. Dube, Parusnath (Mtshali 46′), Ndwandwe (Sibiya 71′), Shitolo, M.Gumede (Makhubela 46′), Mutizwa, Mmodi.
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Mabiliso, Xoki, M. Gumede, Makhaula, Sithebe, Memela (Magubane 73′), Mulenga (Kewuti 66′), Majoro (Mthembu 82′), Qalinge (Mngwazela 66′).