AmaZulu FC defeated Swallows FC 1-0 in the DStv Premiership match at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on Wednesday evening.
As a result, Usuthu qualified for the CAF Champions League for the first time in the club’s history after securing a second-place finish on the league standings with one match left.
The match started off at a sluggish pace with Xola Mlambo battling with his former Orlando Pirates teammate Musa Nyatama for control of the midfield.
AmaZulu took control of the game towards the half-hour mark with Talent Chawapiwa and Thabo Qalinge playing some crosses in the Swallows box for Siphelele Mthembu.
Njabulo Ngcobo and Junaid Sait dealt well with aerial balls which were played in the Swallows box as they made crucial clearances and interceptions.
Mlambo decided to try his luck from range just before the half-hour mark and his effort was blocked by Ngcobo as Usuthu pushed for the opening goal.
Swallows were then able to contain AmaZulu and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
Usuthu continued to launch attacks after the restart and they were awarded a penalty after Sait was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box in the 47th minute.
Tapelo Xoki then stepped up and beat Swallows goalkeeper Sanele Tshabalala from the spot-kick to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu and it was the fifth league goal of the season.
With his side trailing, Swallows head coach Brandon Truter introduced an attack-minded duo of Fawaaz Basadien and Kagiso Malinga on the hour-mark as the visitors looked to level matters.
The Birds pushed for the equalising goal and Nyatama’s thunderous long-range shot was well-saved by keeper Veli Mothwa five minutes after the hour-mark.
AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy then made tactical changes as he introduced defender Samkele Mgwazela and defensive midfielder Butholezwe Ncube in the closing stages.
The hosts were then able to contain Swallows in the dying minutes of the match and ultimately, AmaZulu ran out 1-0 winners on the night.
AmaZulu 1 (Xoki 48′)
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, M. Gumede, Xoki, Mabiliso, Mlambo (Ncube 77′), Kewuti (Mzava 85′), Chawapiwa (Mulenga 61′), Qalinge (Mgwazela 77′), Sithebe, Mthembu (Majoro 46′).
Swallows: Tshabalala, Mere, Matlaba, Ngcobo, Sait, Thibedi (Mahlatsi 78′), Nyatama (Sibiya 84′), Mokoena, Sekgota (Basadien 60′), Mbokoma (Malinga 60′), Gamildien.Share