Uthongathi stun EC Bees in ABC Motsepe playoffs
Uthongathi stunned EC Bees 1-0 to open their ABC Motsepe playoffs Group B on a high note at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Wednesday morning.
This was the first match of the group which means the Kwazulu-Natal champions are at the top of the standings while the Bees are languishing at the bottom.
The other teams in the group‚ Zizwe United of the Western Cape and Northen Cape representatives Mainstay United‚ had yet to play at the time of writing.
Uthongathi scored the solitary goal in the 5th minute when Xolani Slawula connected with a corner kick to head past a beaten Bees goalkeeper Khanya Mini.
Mini was again called into action in the 15th minute but was injured in the process. His brave goalkeeping denied the Cane Cutters the second but he was injured in the process and replaced by Eziel Mamatela.
Bees struggled to deal with the floated balls as Uthongathi used crosses effectively against the Eastern Cape champions.
Bees who lost possession cheaply in the first half should have equalised in the 35th minute after good combination play between Bongani Chikila and Sive Mzolo‚ but the latter wanted to walk the ball into the net instead of taking a shot.
As he was about to pull the trigger he fell down complaining about being fouled but the referee waved play on.
Uthongathi striker Siyabonga Vilane almost doubled the lead after a beautiful counter attack move but his header hit the side net.
The introduction of Siyabulela Shai gave Bees control of the game as they bossed the Kwazulu-Natal champions.
Their dominance almost paid off in the 60th minute when Chikila's shot in the box deflected off a defender and came off the woodwork.
Moments later Shai produced a moment of individual brilliance when he turned the defender but his pass to a teammate was intercepted and cleared from danger.
Bees pressed hard for the equaliser but Uthobgathi defence stood firm and kept them at bay to claim the hard fought victory.
- TMG Digital/TMG Sport