Champions Stars make early exit

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

AmaZulu advanced to the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals when they showed defending champions Platinum Stars the exit via a 1-0 win at King Zwelithini Stadium yesterday.

The home side was well -organised at the back, while the "Tycoons" were losing possession easily in the middle of the park.

AmaZulu's Mpho Maleka was a threat to Stars and should have scored in the eighth minute but his shot went over the crossbar with Wayne Sandilands, Stars goalkeeper to beat.

But Maleka made amends for his mistake when he took his time and selected his spot and scored a great goal in the 16th minute after a good move.

AmaZulu should have increased the margin in the 20th minute through Maleka, but his shot was fisted for a corner by Sandilands.

AmaZulu's Issah Mahomed Awal's shot was also saved by Sandilands in the 22nd minute.

Maleka, who played well, saw his attempt saved by Sandilands 10 minutes later.

Stars Dingane Masanabo and Henrico Botes could not combine well, they also failed to crack Usuthu's defence with most of their moves faltering outside their opponent's danger zone.

The Tycoons were much better in the second half as they knocked the ball around. They staged good moves that forced AmaZulu at certain stages to pack their defence.

Stars came close to scoring when George Mofokeng's header from Masanabo went off the mark in Usuthu's goalmouth in the 57th minute.

Usuthu's goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng was forced to dive full-length to save a Koketso Mmotong shot in the 73rd minute.

Dumisane Ngwenya was replaced by Dennis Lota and John Moshoeu came in for Maleka.

l Reuters reports that Fifa begin a formal inspection today of South Africa's progress in preparing for the 2010 World Cup, the first visit since stadia construction began in earnest at the beginning of the year.

A Fifa delegation will visit four of the nine host cities on a three-day trip starting in Johannesburg today, South Africa's Local Organising Committee (LOC) said yesterday.

They will visit Johannesburg's Soccer City, venue for both the opening match and the final and which has been undergoing a major renovation, before travelling to Port Elizabeth and Cape Town to see progress on new stadiums in the coastal cities.