Usuthu upset odds against fancied SuperSport

2014-01-29 00:00

A RESOLUTE defensive display and an 86th minute Ayanda Dlamini strike saw AmaZulu upset the odds and come away from Lucas Moripe Stadium with all three points as they beat SuperSport United 1-0 in a PSL encounter last night.

After his encouraging 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates last week, AmaZulu coach Craig Rosslee changed his goalkeeper from Aubrey Mathibe to Philani Zikalala and also brought in one new signing for another as John Arwuah replaced Nhlanhla Shabalala in central midfield.

The Pretoria crowd was vocal and sizeable by midweek standards, and it was the home side that started the match brightest and dominated possession, though Zikalala was not troubled in the first 10 minutes.

Usuthu left-back Marc van Heerden began pushing high up the pitch and was looking menacing, but on 19 minutes he put his side in a position to take the lead from his own half. An inch-perfect ball over the SuperSport defence found Goodman Dlamini, who squared the ball into the area from the left flank.

Bongani Ndulula was on hand, and the striker controlled the ball onto his right foot before curling it towards the far post, but he was marginally wide as the ball kissed the outside of the woodwork.

Just five minutes later it was AmaZulu who would be saved by the woodwork as 18-year-old Clement Mazibuko, without a fear in the world, cracked an audacious effort from 30 yards that skimmed the crossbar.

The best chance of the half came from the other fullback, when Bongi Macala delivered a low ball from the right. Ndulula and Goodman Dlamini both stepped over the ball nonchalantly but stylishly to let it run for Ayanda Dlamini, but the attacker didn’t connect his strike cleanly and Ronwen Williams was able to make a good save in the SuperSport goal.

On the stroke of half time SuperSport striker Mame Niang, who had battled to get into dangerous positions all half, had a header go wide and the sides went into the break at 0-0.

The second half was a battle of attrition as both sides battled to gain momentum. Arwuah was taken off for Shabalala 10 minutes after the restart, and he put in some big tackles as Usuthu kept their shape and forced SuperSport into playing the long balls.

Still, it was the home side that created the lion’s share of the chances.

But with just four minutes to play, Rosslee’s charges were sent delirious when Ayanda Dlamini got on the end of a cross to tap in a right-footed effort at the far post somewhat against the run of play.

It was Dlamini’s fourth goal of the season, and he was delighted with his effort.

“I had to make up for that sitter I missed in the first half, so I am really glad to get the winner. We needed those three points,” he said.

The coaches had scarily contrasting opinions of how the match unfolded.

“I thought we were better than one goal. We missed a few sitters, but we passed the ball well,” said Rosslee.

SuperSport coach Cavin Johnson, though, thought otherwise. “They had two chances. The one my ’keeper saved and the goal. But that’s the way it goes.”

The win moves Usuthu up to fourth place on the table, though they have played more games than the teams around them.

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