Marc Van Heerden scored the only goal of the match to help AmaZulu move off the foot of the Absa Premiership table with a 1-0 win over the University of Pretoria at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday night.
The fullback converted from the penalty spot late in the game as Roger Palmgren’s side secured their second home win of the campaign. The Durban side are up to 14th on the standings.
The hosts threatened in the opening games of the match with defender Thamsanqa Teyise trying an overhead kick inside the box, but he failed to connect with the ball, before Ayanda Dlamini’s shot was deflected wide.
However, AmaTuks got themselves into game and created chances of their own with Aubrey Ngoma shooting wide from outside the box in the eighth minute, before Mame Niang ballooned his shot over the bar a minute later.
Then in the 11th minute Kagiso Senamela played a neat one-two with Siyabonga Vilane on the edge of the penalty area, but he fired his shot wide of the post.
Four minutes later Mpho Matsi unleashed a powerful shot long distance, but AmaZulu goalkeeper Philani Zikalala was relieved to watch the ball sailing wide of the post.
Roger Palmgren’s men then launched attack after attack but were unable to get past AmaTuks goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
The Zimbabwean international blocked Marc Van Heerden’s shot at the near post in the 22nd minute, before he held on to a shot from Prince Hlela a minute later.
Arubi was called into action again in 24th minute as he saved a low shot from Senamela, before keeping out another shot from Dlamini moments later.
The rain then started bucketing down in Umlazi, which affected the rhythm of the game and saw the two sides going into the break with the deadlock still intact.
However, the second half came to life again despite the wet conditions with Sifiso Vilakazi heading wide in the 50th minute after connecting with a cross from Ayanda Dlamini, before Van Heerden saw his freekick saved by Arubi four minutes later.
Then in the 56th minute Usuthu twice came close to opening the lead with Teyise nudging the ball onto the post, while Ayanda Dlamini fired the rebound onto the crossbar.
Dlamini continued to trouble the AmaTuks defence and in the 60th minute he broke through on the left, but his low shot was saved by Arubi.
The action was at the other end two minutes later as Ngoma was given too much just outside the box, but he drilled his shot wide of the post.
Six minutes later Ngoma was in the thick of things again when he was put through on the left, but his low shot was blocked by Zikalala, while Philani Cele did well to clear the ball before Niang could get to it.
Then in the 81st minute Usuthu were awarded a penalty as Tebogo Monyai was adjudged to have fouled substitute Goodman Dlamini inside the box.
Before the kick could be taken, the visitors were reduced to ten men as Buhle Mkhwanazi received his marching orders after receiving his second booking.
Van Heerden then stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistake as he buried his shot in the bottom right corner and out of Arubi’s reach.
The hosts were then able to hold on in the closing minutes to register their second win of the season, which sees them moving from the bottom of the log to 14th place for the first time this season.
AmaZulu (0) 1 (Van Heerden 81′ pen)
University of Pretoria 0
AmaZulu: Zikalala, Mokoro, Van Heerden, Teyise, Cele, Madondo (Kgatla 58′), Senamela, Vilane, Hlela (Tshabangu 77′), Dlamini A, Vilakazi (Dlamini G 65′)
University of Pretoria: Arubi, Mphahlele, Monyai, Mkhwanazi, Sibande, Matsi, Lubelo (Ngwenya 75′), Ketjijere (Bishop 88′), Ngoma, Zungu (Radebe 85′), Niang