AmaZulu are through to the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup after they defeated Mthatha Bucks 3-0 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday night.
The match at King Zwelithini Stadium ended 2-2 after extra time, before Usuthu showed their class in the shootout to join Cape Town City and Ubuntu Cape Town as early qualifiers to the next round.
The teams effectively cancelled each other out in the first half, with opportunities few and far between for the attacking players on the field.
The Eastern Cape side nearly snatched the lead in the 38th minute, with defender Mashale Rantabane heading just off target after meeting a fine free kick delivery from former PSL midfielder Angelo Kerspuy.
Bucks had another good effort early in the second half, with Mpho Erasmus driving a fine effort on goal, only to see the ball tipped over by Usuthu goalkeeper Boalefa Pule.
The visiting team’s pressure finally paid off in the 56th minute, with Rantabane again showing his aerial prowess: he got up highest to meet a corner kick from Siyabonga Dubula and this time directed his header into the back of the net.
However, AmaZulu responded strongly to going behind and on 65 minutes they drew level, with a strong run down the left flank by Jabulani Ncubeni teeing up Sadate Ouro-Akoriko to net the equaliser.
And the team in green nearly claimed the ascendancy five minutes later, but Siyethemba Mnguni’s goal-bound header was brilliantly saved by Kwizera, with the goalkeeper needing medical attention after the incident.
The last chance in regulation time went the way of Bucks, with Erasmus shooting over in the 88th minute to see the game go to an extra half hour.
Extra time in cup match is often a case of teams going through the motions, but that wasn’t the case for AmaZulu, as substitute Simphiwe Lumkwana converted Ncube’s cross in the first of the extra 30 minutes to put the home side ahead for the first time.
Bucks pushed hard to find a way back into the match, but had to wait until the very last minute of extra time to make it 2-2, with Linda Bhengu scoring after a goal-mouth scramble to send the match to penalties.
The shootout was a disaster for Bucks, with Erasmus, Samkelo Ndletyana and Bhengu all failing to convert in the first three kicks. AmaZulu’s Tapelo Nyongo, Thembela Sikhakhane and Sadate Ouro-Akoriko scored theirs to see Usuthu win 3-0.
AmaZulu (0) (1) 2 (Ouro-Akoriko 65’, Lumkwana 91’)
Mthatha Bucks (0) (1) 2 (Rantabane 56’, Bhengu 120’)
After extra time, AmaZulu won 3-0 on penalties
AmaZulu: Pule, Sikhakhane, Mabiliso, Nyongo, Ouro-Akoriko, Mnguni, Darpoh, Ncube, Ncubeni (Lumkwana 90+2’), S. Dlamini (Ramphele 81’), Abraw (Khenyeza 83’)
Bucks: Kwizera, Lietsisa, Rantabane, Ndletyana, Majadibodu, Japhta (Kangwa 101’), Uhuru, Kerspuy, Ntuli, Erasmus, Dubula (Fukutwa 75’)Share