AmaZulu suffered a 2-0 loss in their Absa Premiership derby against KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday.
The result sees Usuthu, who ended the game with 10 men, drop one spot on the log to ninth. The Team of Choice, whose goals were scored by Bandile Shandu and Siphesihle Ndlovu, are up two places to fourth.
Maritzburg enjoyed the early dominance and created a few threatening moments, with striker Andrea Fileccia constantly looking to run in behind the AmaZulu defence.
Yet Usuthu soon settled into the game and created attacking opportunities of their own, with Ovidy Karuru flashing an effort across goal in the 17th minute before Siyethemba Mnguni headed wide from a Siyabonga Nomvethe cross midway through the half.
On 33 minutes United’s veteran defender Bevan Fransman almost opened the scoring, sending a low shot from a free kick through the wall, only to see goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha claw the ball away.
Seven minutes later Maritzburg broke the deadlock with a beautifully executed goal: Deolin Mekoa put Lebohang Maboe in behind the defence and he unselfishly squared for Bandile Shandu to have a tap-in from close range.
The hosts opted for a tactical change at the start of the second half, with William Twala introduced in place of defender Bokang Thlone, yet it was the visitors who looked the likelier scorers after the break.
AmaZulu’s forward trio of Karuru, Nomvethe and Mabhuti Khenyeza caused the Team of Choice defence all kinds of trouble, though Richard Ofori remained relatively untested.
On 63 minutes AmaZulu were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Butholezwe Ncube picked up his second yellow card for a clumsy foul on Siphesihle Ndlovu and was sent for an early shower.
Usuthu put up a brave fight in the final stages of the match, as they looked for a way back into the game despite being a man down, but ultimately Maritzburg doubled their advantage in injury time when Twala teed up Ndlovu to seal all three points.
Maritzburg United (1) 2 (Shandu 40’, Ndlovu 90+1’)
Maritzburg: Ofori, Sanoka, Xulu, Fransman, Thlone (Twala 46’), Ndlovu, Makaringe, Shandu, Maboe (Onyango 78’), Mekoa, Fileccia (Mokate 80’)
AmaZulu: S. Mbatha, M. Gumede, Ouro-Akoriko, Nyongo, Mabiliso, Mnguni, Darpoh (Ncobeni 58’), Ncube, Karuru, Khenyeza (Cele 73’), Nomvethe (S. Dlamini 62’)Share