AmaZulu FC claimed a 1-0 win over ES Setif in a Caf Champions League group B match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday evening.
The victory saw Usuthu climb up to second place on the group standings – level on points with leaders Raja Casablanca of Morocco, while Algeria’s Setif slipped down to third place on the table.
Usuthu should have been 1-0 up within the first minute of the game after a mistake by the visitors’ goalkeeper Zakaria Bouhalfaya, who came out and completely missed the ball.
However, somehow Augustine Mulenga missed an open net, much to the surprise of the AmaZulu technical team including head coach Benni McCarthy, who was a prolific finisher during his playing days.
Setif did launch a few attacks as the Black Eagles looked to break the deadlock. Ibrahem Bodbous and Mohamed Ziti were both denied by Veli Mothwa, with the AmaZulu keeper keen to keep a clean sheet on the night.
The hosts upped the tempo as the halftime break approached and they did break the deadlock. Luvuyo Memela scored with a deflected shot from outside the visitors’ box in the 42nd minute and AmaZulu were leading 1-0 at the interval.
Usuthu continued to put pressure on the Black Eagles’ defence with Siphelele Mthembu looking to use his imposing physique to unsettle the visitors and did well to turn inside the visitors’ box, but his shot was deflected wide of the target.
The visitors looked dangerous on the counterattack and they nearly level matters through Ahmed Kendouci. The 22-year-old midfielder was sent through on goal, but Tapelo Xoki produced an excellent last-ditch block to deny Kendouci.
Nabil Kouki, the Setif head coach, reacted by making a triple substitution – introducing Ibrahim Farhi, Karim Nemdil and Khalil Darfalou. However, AmaZulu stood firm at the back and ultimately ran out 1-0 winners on the night.
AmaZulu (1) 1 (Memela 42′)
Setif (0) 0
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Khumalo (Sikhakhane 46′), Xoki (Mgwazela 78′), Zulu (Moleko 88′), Memela, Buchanan Makhaula, Ceesay, Mthembu (Majok 69′), Mulenga (Moremi 78′).
Setif: Bouhalfaya, Ziti, Belkaroui, Brahimi, Laribi, Karaoui (Nemdil 68′), Bodbous (Farhi 68′), Kendouci, Motrani (Bakrar 81′), Boutiche (Benayad 90’+1), Djabou (Darfalou 69′).