AmaZulu dent Sundowns’ title hopes


Ovidy Karuru of AmaZulu celebrates goal with teammates during the the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and AmaZulu at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Johannesburg on 29 January 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

AmaZulu became the first team to defeat Mamelodi Sundowns in the Absa Premiership this season when they won 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday night.

An own goal from Tebogo Langerman and a second-half header from Ovidy Karuru secured the victory for Usuthu, who move up to 11th place on the log and severely dent the Brazilians’ title ambitions – both handing them a first league defeat and denying them the chance to go level with Bidvest Wits at the top.

Sundowns created the first chance as early as the third minute, with Lebohang Maboe heading over the target from Anthony Laffor’s cross.

The hosts enjoyed several further chances in the first half, with Hlompho Kekana missing out in the 18th minute, Maboe denied by a smart low save from Siyabonga Mbatha, and Gaston Sirino shooting over the crossbar just after the half-hour mark.

Sundowns may have been enjoying most of the ball, but AmaZulu did provide a sporadic threat through the likes of Ovidy Karuru and Bonginkosi Ntuli, and the hosts needed to remain sharp at the back.

However, in the 34th minute Brazilians left-back Tebogo Langerman sliced a cross from Jabulani Ncobeni into his own net, giving Usuthu the lead against the run of play.

Sundowns looked to level the game late in the half, with Mbatha called on to make further saves from Kekana and Sirino, but the score remained 1-0 in favour of the away side up to the interval.

The hosts made a tactical switch at the start of the second half, putting on Jeremy Brockie in place of Laffor, as they looked for a way back into the game. Yet it was AmaZulu who had the first clear chance after the break, with Karuru denied by Denis Onyango on 54 minutes.

Just over 10 minutes later Usuthu doubled their lead, with Karuru heading home from a well-placed corner kick. The goal proved to be the killer blow, taking all the steam out of Sundowns’ hopes of a comeback.

The Brazilians will be in CAF Champions League action this weekend when they host ASEC Mimosas, before returning to Premiership duties next week with a match against Black Leopards. AmaZulu’s next PSL fixture is a home clash with Cape Town City on February 9.

Mamelodi Sundowns 0
AmaZulu (1) 2 (Langerman og 34’, Karuru 65’)

Sundowns: Onyango, Ngcongca, Nascimento, Lebusa, Langerman (Lakay 73’), Laffor (Brockie 46’), Kekana, Mabunda (Ali Meza 71’), Zwane, Sirino, Maboe

AmaZulu: Mbatha, M. Gumede, Sikhakhane, P. Gumede, Nyongo, Morton (Maduna 76’), Darpoh, Sithebe, Ncobeni (Ouro-Akoriko 73’), Karuru, Ntuli (Tade 73’)

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