"Let's win ugly today."
These were the words of encouragement Usuthu players got from their experienced teammate John "Shoes" Mosheou before their Absa Premiership encounter with Black Leopards on Saturday. The words spurred them on to register an emphatic 2-0 win against Lidoda Duvha.
Mosheou, who got his second start for the season, did not only encourage his mates but played a big role in ensuring that the valuable three points remained at home.
The home team started the game on the offensive from the word go and it was not surprising when they came close to an opener twice in the space of three minutes.
Their first clear-cut chance of the match fell to Mosheou when he connected after Leopards defender Eric Ramavhale failed to clear. But the reliable midfielder panicked and miscued his shot when he had acres of space on the 24th minute.
Two minutes later, Issah Mohammed-Awal almost gave the visitors a goal when his soft back pass was nearly intercepted by Sibusiso Dlamini, but Kalililo Kakonje was quick off his line to deny Dlamini a goal.
In one of the rare attacks by the visitors, Myron Shongwe found the unmarked Jabulani Maluleke with a long ball, but Maluleke's first touch let him down in the 34th minute.
The half time score was 0-0.
In the second stanza, Usuthu continued where they left off in the first half, going for the jugular and Siyabonga Mkhwanazi was denied a goal by Mashudu Mamphitha in the 47th minute.
But the goal finally came three minutes later when Mamphitha presented him with a gift as he failed to handle an easy free kick and spilled the ball and Mkhwanazi headed home to make it 1-0.
Fifteen minutes later, Hlompho Kekana was shown a red card by referee Jerome Damon for a vicious tackle on Usuthu's Belux Kasonga.
In the 74th minute, Mosheou thought he had put his name on the score sheet when he headed home a rebound off the keeper, only to be adjudged offside by Damon. The second goal came via the boot of Mpho Maleka who had to slide to tap in a beautiful cross from Jan Sillo in the 86th minute to make it 2-0.
An ecstatic Clive Barker said a win would go a long way in boosting their confidence, which had dipped because of losses.