Swallows suffer first league defeat at Galaxy
Mthembu's strike sinks Matsatsantsa
While consolidating their slot in the top-eight, AmaZulu asked serious questions of SuperSport United's title credentials by beating them 1-0 at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium yesterday.
The win earned through Siphelele Mthembu's solitary goal, scored early in the initial stanza, didn't move sixth-placed AmaZulu up on the DStv Premiership standings, but it saw them draw level with Golden Arrows on 28 points.
The encounter was evenly balanced in the first few minutes. AmaZulu were the first to take it up a notch, using the intelligence of Luvuyo Memela and Siyethemba Sithebe to dominate Matsatsantsa. Memela and Sithebe made Usuthu tick by thriving in the pocket of spaces.
Usuthu’s weakest link in the first half was Xola Mlambo. The former Orlando Pirates ace gave away possession easily and misplaced a number of passes that would have possibly put the Durbanites in favourable position to score.
On a few occasions where SuperSport threatened, it was Kudakwashe Mahachi who was in the thick of things, getting the better of Usuthu right-back Thembela Sikhakhane. Mahachi’s crosses were, in most cases, thwarted by AmaZulu central defenders Tapelo Xoki and Michael Gumede, who stuck to Bradley Grobler like glue.
Using his agility and physical prowess, Augustine Mulenga was a thorn in the flesh for SuperSport centre-backs in Luke Fleurs and Thatoyaone Ditlhokwe. Pouncing on a misplaced pass from Ditlhokwe, Mulenga played a pivotal role in Usuthu breaking the deadlock, mesmerising the hapless Matsatsantsa defence before teeing-up Mthembu to beat Ronwen Williams via an easy tap-in the 24th minute.
In their bid to level matters and perhaps find a winning goal, the visitors brought in Evans Rusike and Iqraam Rayners for Gamphani Lungu and Onismor Bhasera later on the second half respectively. However, it was not meant to be for them as Usuthu managed to hold onto onto their lead.
At Mbombela, TS Galaxy came from a goal down to beat Swallows 2-1, thus handing the Birds their first league defeat this season. Galaxy late goals were scored by Lindokuhle Mbatha (84min) and Bevan Fransman (87), while Ruzaigh Gamaldien scored for the Birds from the penalty spot in the 50th.
Meanwhile, Maritzburg United earned a vital win, beating fellow relegation candidates Black Leopards at Harry Gwala Stadium, thanks to Thabiso Kutumela's injury time spot-kick.
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