Amazulu conquer PSL log leaders

2009-02-25 00:00

THE upset results kept coming in the Premier Soccer League as leaders SuperSport United were outplayed by AmaZulu at Chatsworth Stadium last night in a 2-1 victory to the Durban team.

It might not have been defending champions SuperSport’s best performance, but that was because the Pretoria team were not allowed to play by Clive Barker’s spirited and impressive AmaZulu. In a pulsating, fluid and fast-paced game SuperSport found no answer to Usuthu’s ingenuity and work-rate.

The result meant United were reined in after what seemed to be a certain march to a second successive title. Supersport’s lead was cut from six to seven points over Mamelodi Sundowns, who drew 0-0 with Free State Stars at the Super Stadium last night.

Like most teams in the bottom half of a league that has no obviously weak teams, AmaZulu showed they should be higher than their 11th place. The often temperamental Usuthu fans were in full voice and clearly pleased by the performance and the result.

AmaZulu got off to a lively start and an early lob had to be palmed over by SuperSport goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng, and then a header was cleared off the line.

SuperSport are masters at soaking up pressure, then putting away their chances when they come round. That was the case in the 22nd minute when, with the AmaZulu defence ball-watching, left-back Tsietsi Mahoa made ground out wide and his cross found right-wing Elias Pelembe free in the middle to bury his header past Usuthu goalkeeper Kalilo Kakonje.

AmaZulu almost hit back within a minute when exciting young talent Sthembiso Dlamini was fed in the area by Myron Shongwe, but his shot was deflected wide. At the other end Kakonje misconnected a punch and Lerato Chabangu blasted over in space.

The chances kept coming at both ends, as winger Dlamini’s well-crafted ball into the area from the left was missed by centimetres by Dumisani Ngwenya steaming in.

On the half-hour, Supersport’s formerly Netherlands-based striker, Glen Salmon, turned sharply and made a strong run into the area, but shot into the side-netting.

When AmaZulu’s equaliser deservedly came early in the second half, it was from a player who would have relished the strike. Talented striker Myron Shongwe, who has had a torrid time at Usuthu since being one of the headline signings of the off-season, finally notched up his first goal for the club. After being played in on the left by Ngwenya in the 55th minute, Shongwe slotted with an ease that might have made him wonder what all the previous fuss was about.

AmaZulu took the lead with a goal of rare quality in the 64th minute when lanky striker Dumisani Ngwenya was played into space on the left, turned defender Morgan Gould twice, then unleashed a ripper that screamed past Motsoeneng from a narrow angle and into the top-right corner. The goal was the prolific Ngwenya’s eighth of the season.

After that strike, Usuthu closed up shop and retained possession impressively while continuing to keep United pinned back with darting attacks.

In other results last night, Ajax Cape Town beat Bay United 4-1 at Athlone Stadium (scorers: Ajax — Sameegh Doutie, 11th; Mabhudi Khenyeza, 33rd, 63rd, 75th; Bay — Martin Carelse, own goal 89th) and Moroka Swallows lost 1-0 at home to Santos at Olympia Park (Mogogi Gabonamong fifth).

Last night: AmaZulu 2 Supersport United 1, Mamelodi Sundowns 0 Free State Stars 0, Moroka Swallows 0 Santos 1, Ajax Cape Town 4 Bay United 1

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