Kaizer Chiefs scraped a much-needed 1-0 win over AmaZulu in a DStv Premiership clash at Kings Park in Durban on Wednesday, with Samir Nurkovic scoring the only goal of the game.
There were also wins for Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United in the midweek programme on Wednesday night.
The result in Durban sees the Amakhosi break a seven-game winless streak which stretched back to October and rise to 10th place on the log — putting a buffer of four points between themselves and the relegation zone.
Usuthu remain in ninth place on 10 points — ahead of Chiefs only on goal difference.
AmaZulu were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men in the early minutes when Thembela Sikhakhane was guilty of a nasty challenge on Happy Mashiane, which saw the Chiefs man stretchered off before he was able to recover and continue playing.
The hosts put together the first genuine goal threat, with Augustine Mulenga finding space in the penalty area before skewing a left-footed shot wide of the target in the seventh minute.
Four minutes later Chiefs claimed the lead with their first real attack.
A Dumisani Zuma cross was deflected into the path of Nurkovic, who swept home a low shot to score in his first start of the season.
Usuthu responded well to going behind and put together some promising passages of play in the final third, though often their attackers found themselves facing a wall of gold-and-black-clad players in the penalty area.
The feisty and physical first half — which saw Nurkovic and Tapelo Xoki literally go head to head in a heated confrontation in the last minutes — ended 1-0 in favour of the Amakhosi.
Usuthu continued to push and probe in attack in the second half, but a breakthrough never arrived for the hosts, allowing Chiefs to claim a three-pointer that will come as a huge relief given their struggling campaign thus far.
Pirates into fourth spot
Meanwhile, Pirates moved into fourth position with a 3-0 win over Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at Thohoyandou Stadium.
The Bucs broke the ice in the 16th minute through Deon Hotto. The Namibian international saw his initial shot blocked, but then fired home.
Gabadinho Mhango made it 2-0 in the 39th minute — scoring in the league for the first time since October.
Fortune Makaringe scored Pirates’ third with 64 minutes gone and what a classy finish it was. Mhango cut the ball back to Thembinkosi Lorch, who laid it off to Makaringe and he ran onto the ball to side-foot firmly into the uppish right-hand corner from 20 yards.
Grobler breaks SuperSport United’s all-time record
At Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, Bradley Grobler became SuperSport United’s all-time record scorer after netting in the side’s 2-1 win over Celtic.
Thamsanqa Gabuza handed SuperSport an early lead, but Celtic’s Victor Letsoalo slotted home an equaliser from the penalty spot.
On the stroke of half time, Grobler netted his 58th goal for SuperSport, to take the side up to second spot.