Usuthu Reserves have booked their semi-final berth after Stellies home win


Usuthu Reserves beat Stellenbosch Reserves 2-1 at the King Zwelithini Stadium to set a showdown for number one spot against Cape Town City on 15 May after they were confirmed as teams that go through the semifinals from Stream A in the Multichoice Diski Challenge Rewired.

Coach Sboniso “Nini” Vilakazi’s side were in the driving seat throughout their bout with Stellies this morning in Umlazi despite the score line. He gave complete credit to his charges for going second on the log with one match to go.

“The credit must go to the players because they did extremely well, especially in the first half in the way we did on ball possession, and the circulation using those half spaces.”

“Coming to the second half, yes, we anticipated that they would try to throw everything at us, but for us it was just to try and contain them because we were 2-0 up. It was all about game management. We were supposed to keep the ball but in some arears we still need to improve.

“The most important thing is that we were able to get maximum points. Losing Lindani Shange to injury did affect us but we later saw that if they tried to throw everything, we would catch them on the counter.”

“We had a few opportunities where we should have killed the game, clear chances but unfortunately as it is part of the game, the boys are still growing – trying to improve. We are trying our level best to balance the two, individually and collectively. As a group they need to improve as well while we tried and get into the semi-finals,” said Vilakazi.

AmaZulu took the lead through bullish striker, Lindokuhle Zungu in the 23rd minute as he thumped the ball past the visitor’s goalkeeper with his left foot from just outside of the box.

Usuthu’s second goal came from a 40th minute own goal. Midfielder, Sibongakonke Ndlovu intercepted a ball in the middle of the park and went all the way to the box, dribbling every white shirt coming towards him before playing a glancing ball across goal which was met by a Stellenbosch defender whose tackle guided the ball into the back of his own net.

The visitors were handed a lifeline in the 83rd minute when Thato Lucas scored from the spot-kick after Devin Titus was brought down in the box.

Goalkeeper, Olwethu Mzimela stamped his authority well for AmaZulu between the sticks as he eliminated every threat the hapless opponents tried to throw at him as the boys in and white stretched their undefeated run to 5 matches.

The victory saw Usuthu reaching 12 points that none of the teams behind them will reach even if they win the last games next weekend.

Now, City (with 13 points) and AmaZulu will battle out on the last group match to determine who finishes at the top of Stream One.

Usuthu lost attacker, Thokozani Shange to a horrific late challenge towards the dying minutes of the game.

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