AmaZulu sneak past Chippa United with a penalty
AmaZulu extended Chippa United's winless league run when they beat the Eastern Cape side 1-0 in their DStv Premiership clash at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Wednesday.
It was Tapelo Xoki's 56th minute penalty that left the Chilli Boys without a win in six league matches and coach Dan Malesela will be feeling the pressure as his team hovers around the relegation zone.
By contrast it was yet another three points on the road for Benni McCarthy's team as they slowly manoeuvre their way closer to the top three.
With 11 matches to play for Chippa United, their trigger-happy boss Siviwe Mpengesi is likely to be running short of patience and Malesela could repeat history and make a historic third exit soon. The last time the Chilli Boys tasted victory was a 3-0 win against Black Leopards in January.
On Wednesday, the only goal in the game came via a penalty in the second half after Thamsanqa Sangweni was sanctioned for a hand ball in the area. Xoki coolly stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
Chippa coach Malelsa made some changes to his starting 11 from the team that lost 3-0 against Orlando Pirates on Saturday. This saw the return of defenders Frederic Nsabiyumva from the sick bay and Isaac Nhlapho who was on suspension.
Another surprise change was seeing Malesela play both his foreign attackers Augustine Kwem and Bienvenu Eva Nga in tandem in the first half. Previous matches saw Kwem start with Eva Nga coming in as a super sub in the second half.
It was clear from his set-up that the 55-year-old coach wanted to attack from the get go and fight for the much-needed points — but his players lacked the finishing touch.
Both teams had equal opportunities on goal in the first half but they could not get the ball in the net.
Usuthu started off the assault just two minutes into the game with a Lehlohonolo Majoro strike from the corner of the box but his attempt was punched by Chilli Boys goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali.
In the 10th min Kwem’s cross landed on Mokhele Maloisane's foot, who sent the ball straight to the hands of his former teammate Veli Mothwa.
Putting pressure on the visitors, Kwem found an opening in the AmaZulu defence and tried to find his partner Eva Nga, who overran the pass to miss out on a clear chance.
After the goal, Malesela made a double change with Kwem replaced by Peter Maloisane and Anthony Laffor coming in for Sandile Mthethwa. Despite the changes Malesela’s troops just could not score despite many attempts.