AmaZulu target quarterfinal berth in Nedbank Cup

AmaZulu will target a place in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup when they face hosts Black Leopards at the Thohoyandou Stadium for a last 16 tie on Saturday 27 February 2021. Kick-off is at 3pm.

AmaZulu earned their place in this round of the competition with a penalty shootout win over derby rivals Golden Arrows earlier in the month.

The match finished 1-1 – thanks to Lehlohonolo Majoro scoring a late equaliser to send the contest to extra time, with Arrows having led for most of the game through Michael Gumede – before Usuthu trumped their neighbours 5-4 on spot kicks.

Benni McCarthy’s team come into this last 16 game in outstanding form: they are unbeaten in their last eight outings across all competitions and firmly established themselves in the top half of the DStv Premiership log with a 2-1 win at Kaizer Chiefs on February 17, where Majoro again scored a key late goal.

AmaZulu’s turnaround under McCarthy has been highly impressive, but the former Bafana Bafana star insists that the players should take the credit as they head into this clash with Leopards.

What we [McCarthy and his technical team] do is just give our players confidence, the belief in themselves, the belief that they are fantastic individuals but as a collective they are unbelievable and they got used to that,” the coach explained.

He added, “The players have to take all the credit for the turnaround that has been happening in the team. Because they go on the pitch week in and week out, we give them guidelines to be technical, but they still have to go there and execute the plan, so they must take all the credit for the turnaround of the club. It is a combination of good technical team and players, and we have a never-say-die attitude.”

Leopards earned their place in this round with a 2-1 away win over second-tier Jomo Cosmos, with Zimbabwean attacker Ovidy Karuru scoring a brace of goals inside the final eight minutes of regulation time.

And Lidoda Duvha come into the match fresh from a much-needed DStv Premiership win, defeating Golden Arrows 2-1 away from home on February 23 – thanks to a brace from Mohammed Anas – to break a five-match losing streak in the league and move off the foot of the table.

In head-to-head terms, this will be the first knockout meeting of Leopards and AmaZulu since a 1-0 win for Lidoda Duvha in the last 32 round of the 2009 edition of the Nedbank Cup. The teams last clashed in the DStv Premiership in November 2020, with Usuthu winning 2-0 at Kings Park Stadium in Durban thanks to a brace from Luvoyo Memela.

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