Kaizer Chiefs halted a seven-match winless streak as a first-half goal from the returning Samir Nurkovic secured a 1-0 victory over AmaZulu at Kings Park Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The first real goal scoring chance of the match arrived on seven minutes but it came to nothing as Augustine Mulenga fired narrowly wide of the left-hand post after being teed up by Xola Mlambo.
Usuthu were made to rue that missed opportunity as Chiefs went on to claim the lead just four minutes later, the fit-again Nurkovic slotting the ball into the back of the net in his first start of the campaign.
And Chiefs went close to doubling their advantage a few minutes later as both Daniel Cardoso and Anthony Akumu fired wide of the mark in quick succession.
After a brief lull in play, AmaZulu had a glorious opportunity to draw level in the 31st minute, only for Siphelele Mthembu to head wide of the target from Mbongeni Gumede's teasing cross.
One minute later, Nurkovic dragged a right-footed shot wide of the left side of goal while at the opposite end of the pitch, Siyethemba Sithebe saw his long-range effort drift high and wide.
Chiefs had one last chance to add a second goal as the first half drew to a close but AmaZulu keeper Veli Mothwa was alert to the danger, denying Dumisani Zuma's goal-bound shot.
The second half started at a cautious pace with neither side willing to commit too many numbers in attack, but the match opened up as the half wore on.
AmaZulu's Augustine Mulenga had the two best chances of the opening 15-minute spell but his first, from a direct free-kick, missed to the left of goal while the second, from the right-hand side of the box, flew high and wide.
Nurkovic, meanwhile, had a great chance to double his tally on the hour mark but he let AmaZulu off the hook as he sent a headed attempt over the bar following a corner.
He did manage to get a header on target seven minutes later following another great cross by Dumisani Zuma, but Mothwa was equal to the task.
And, with time quickly running out, AmaZulu redoubled their efforts in a bid to snatch an equaliser but Lehlohonolo Majoro was denied by Daniel Akpeyi in the Chiefs goal, before Limbikani Mzava sent a header off target on 85 minutes.
However, they were unable to make any notable impact in the final third of the pitch as Chiefs' Lazarous Kambole was denied what looked to be a certain goal by Mothwa in injury time.
- TEAMtalk media