Amakhosi open gap at the top after sinking Usuthu

2013-12-23 00:00

LEAGUE champions Kaizer Chiefs handed AmaZulu a lesson in attacking football when they thumped them 4-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday afternoon.

It was Amakhosi’s second win in the stadium this week after beating Golden Arrows there on Thursday.

Not only will the game be remembered as a spectacle and a fine advert for South African football, but also for the contrasting first- and second-half performances of the man Chiefs fans love to hate, Zimbabwean international Kingston Nkatha.

Second-half substitute Siyabonga Nkosi grabbed a brace, while the others were scored by Knowledge Musona and Bernard Parker. Nkatha had a hand in all of them.

Kulegani Madondo grabbed Ama­Zulu’s goal deep into stoppage time.

Booed by the crowd in the first half after being unable to do anything right, Nkatha came out in the second half and ended up walking away with the man-of-the-match award.

After a subdued first half in which Amakhosi created the better chances, the game, and the crowd, came to life when the league’s top goalscorer, Bernard Parker, clattered the ball into the upright. Siphiwe Tshabalala also saw his shot, which came two minutes before the end of the first half, just go over.

A talking point from the first half was how hard tackling Zimbabwean Willard Katsande was only given a yellow card after felling his opposite number, former Maritzburg United midfielder, Madondo from behind.

It was Stuart Baxter’s decision to pull the defensive Katsande off at the break and introduce Siyabonga Nkosi that ignited the Glamour Boys.

After being on the field for just five minutes, Nkosi nearly opened the scoring but his shot was well saved by AmaZulu’s goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.

The resulting corner led to a goal-line scramble that saw Parker hit the crossbar, and Zimbabwean Kapini getting kicked in the head.

It was in the 55th minute that the deadlock would eventually be broken after a brilliantly taken shot from 25 yards by former Bafana Bafana midfielder Nkosi. The 32-year-old seemed to have all the space to line up his shot and beat Kapini to his left.

Musona, one of six Zimbabweans who played in the game, then made it 2-0 after his compatriot Kapini blocked Tshabalala’s shot into his path. That goal effectively killed off the game as a contest as AmaZulu left themselves too open at the back.

Bafana Bafana striker Parker grabbed the third in the 80th minute, and Nkosi completed his brace with four minutes of the 90 still remaining.

AmaZulu finally found the back of the net when Madondo’s shot got a big deflection off Mthiyane and wrong footed Chiefs’ skipper Itumeleng Khune to make sure he wouldn’t finish the game with a clean sheet.

The result means the champions now open up a five-point gap at the top of the table after Mamelodi Sundowns were held 2-2 by the struggling Maritzburg United on Friday.

After the game, Chiefs coach Baxter was full of praise for his side and described the game as one of the best he’s seen in South Africa.

“It was a very good game of football. As good as I have seen in South Africa. Both teams came here to play,” the English-born Scottish coach said.

“Bringing on Nkosi changed the game for us. We played against a good team, and I’m delighted with the result.”

He also praised Nkatha, adding that he “worked his socks off” after being booed by Chiefs fans in the first half.

Usuthu coach Craig Rosslee said the better team on the day won, and felt they were still in with a chance of getting a result when they were just 1-0 down.

In yesterday’s other game, University of Pretoria beat Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-0 at Tuks Stadium in the capital.

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