AmaZulu secure late win over Bloem Celtic

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Benni McCarthy (Gallo Images)
Benni McCarthy (Gallo Images)

Amazulu continued their rich vein of form under coach Benni McCarthy with a 4-3 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in a DStv Premiership clash played at Kings Park stadium on Tuesday.

Tapelo Xoki was the hero for Usuthu after he scored a brilliant free-kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time to win the game for the hosts.

Goals by Augustine Mulenga, Siyethemba Sithebe and Xoki from the penalty spot put the hosts 3-1 ahead early in the second half.

Harris Tchilimbou had earlier equalised for Celtic and the visitors once again showed their fighting spirit as Sepana Letsoalo and then Tchilimbou again pegged the home team back.

Usuthu took the lead in the 13th minute when Mulenga pounced to slot into the back of the net after the Celtic defence failed to clear their lines from a corner.

Celtic might feel aggrieved that the goal was awarded as it looked like Mulenga had handled the ball before firing into the back of the net.

Phunya Sele Sele though dusted themselves off and found the equaliser on the half-hour mark when Tchilimbou beat the offside trap and produced a neat finish following an excellent through ball by Siphelele Luthuli.

Siyethemba Sithebe had two good chances to put Amazulu ahead before the halftime break but he first saw his long-range shot go just wide and then hit a volley just over the cross-bar as the teams went into the break with the scores level.

Usuthu came out of the blocks firing after interval with Sithebe eventually getting on the score sheet after he turned in a low cut back from forward Siphelele Mthembu.

The hosts then went 3-1 ahead in the 56th minute after Xoki converted from the penalty spot after Celtic defender Thato Lingwati fouled Mulenga, although replays suggested the infringement might have been just outside the box.

Again, Siwelele put the disappointment behind them as substitute Letsoalo pulled a goal back with 12 minutes remaining, beating Usuthu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa with a header from a Lantshene Phalane free-kick.

Celtic thought they had snatched a point from the contest when Tchilimbou bundled in the equaliser in the 90th minute after the home side's defence could not clear their lines.

However, there was one final twist in the see-saw battle as Xoki stepped up deep into stoppage time and curled home a sumptuous free-kick that left Sipho Chaine in the Celtic goal with no chance.

The strike sparked wild celebrations from McCarthy and his players as they celebrated their third consecutive league victory.

- TEAMtalk media

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