Usuthu stun luckless City

2013-07-19 00:00

THERE is little doubt that had it been Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates in town celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, there would have been a far larger crowd at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium to witness AmaZulu hosting Manchester City in a pre-season friendly last night.

But those who were in attendance were certainly not disappointed, as a late penalty saw AmaZulu triumph 2-1 to cap off a forgettable tour for the tourists, who were beaten 2-0 by SuperSport United in Pretoria on Sunday.

While City started with a strong line-up that included England No. 1 goalkeeper Joe Hart, captain Vincent Kompany, right back Micah Richards, Ivorian sensation Yaya Toure, James Milner and Samir Nasri, it was a chance for AmaZulu coach Craig Rosslee to assess his new-look squad that saw no fewer than five new signings in his starting line-up.

A few strong tackles from AmaZulu early on in the match suggested that the clash would be competitive despite its nature. City were comfortable on the ball, and almost took the lead when a Nasri free-kick was turned around AmaZulu goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini’s right-hand upright.

While Usuthu were resilient in defence, they didn’t appear to have ammunition that could threaten the City defence.

That was until the 20th minute, when a disastrous back pass from City leftback Aleksandar Kolorov to no one resulted in striker Bongani Ndulula rounding a lost Hart to tap into an open net and give the home side a shock 1-0 lead.

The celebrations would not last long. Just six minutes later a cross from Scott Sinclair from the left was met by a miscued Toure header. The ball fell fortuitously for Milner, who blasted past a helpless Kapini from an acute angle to level matters.

Nasri almost fired City into the lead on the half-hour mark when the Bosnian Dzeko played him in to be one-on-one, but Kapini made himself big to pull of a fine block.

AmaZulu remained physical and competitive to see the sides go into the break at 1-1.

Both managers rang the changes at half-time — City three and AmaZulu a further one to the two they had made in the first half.

One of those subs was City’s Jack Rodwell, who should have done better than hit an effort from just inside the area straight at another sub in AmaZulu goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe on 54 minutes.

By the hour mark, City were beginning to dictate all of the play, leaving Usuthu to look for the counter.

After sublime build-up play in the home side’s area on 60 minutes, City worked the ball to Dzeko, who saw his side footed effort instinctively saved by Mathibe.

But, with City looking the most likely to score, there was a twist in the tale with two minutes left of normal time. AmaZulu left back Marc van Heerden was brought down in the penalty area by City sub Abdul Razak.

Carlington Nyadombo made no mistake from the spot, and gave Usuthu a win that will be savoured for a long time to come.

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