Pitso Mosimane’s woes continued on Saturday night as AmaZulu came from behind to earn an impressive victory.
The win came courtesy of strikes by Usuthu’s experienced attacking duo of Mabhuti Khenyeza and Siyabonga Nomvethe, who cancelled out Thokozani Sekotlong’s first half goal. Following Mamelodi Sundowns’ midweek defeat, the Brazilians looked to bounce back on Saturday night as they hosted AmaZulu at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Ahead of the clash, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane admitted that he did not know much about their KwaZulu-Natal opponents but was wary of their goal threat, and Mosimane made several changes to his starting XI as he looked to return to winning ways. The 53-year-old gave the likes of Razak Brimah, Thokozani Sekotlong and experienced defender Anele Ngcongca some much needed game time.
Meanwhile, Usuthu were looking to steal a valuable three-points away from home, and Cavin Johnson’s men were given a boost ahead of the clash as their influential midfielder Michael Morton returned from suspension.
While the rain bucketed down just before kick-off, Sundowns were unfazed by the testing conditions and began the game the brighter of the two sides. Percy Tau threatened the AmaZulu goal as early as the sixth minute, through a free kick which flew just over the AmaZulu goal, before Masandawana eventually broke the deadlock only minutes later through Sekotlong. The former Free State Stars attacker was on hand to finish off a beautifully crafted moved by Sundowns as he tapped home Fares Hachi’s pinpoint pass.
Mosimane would have been pleased from what he saw from his troops in the first half as the home side were dominant in possession, with Tau looking a continuous threat to the 1-0 scoreline. The 23-year-old had a golden chance to double Sundowns’ advantage in the 18th minute but he failed to find the target after latching onto a volley from the edge of the area. Tau did eventually have the ball in the back of the net before the haft-time break, but his effort was correctly ruled out for offside. At the other end though, AmaZulu’s woes were further worsened by the withdrawal of Sadat Ouro-Akoriko.
Nonetheless, while Sundowns’ keeper Brimah was a relative spectator for most of the first half, his distribution proved a focal point for the Tshwane giants as it gave them another attacking outlet. But for all of Sundowns’ dominance, they struggled to penetrate the AmaZulu defence again and went into the break holding a slender one goal advantage.
The second half on the other hand began as a far more open affair, but Sundowns remained on the front foot even though AmaZulu looked threatening on the counter attack. Tau was once again Sundowns’ dangerman and with 54 minutes played, he came within a whisker of finding their second goal of the night. But following an exciting build-up, the Bafana Bafana international’s curling effort was deflected wide.
Although, the away side were much more improved in the second half, they struggled to break through an organised Sundowns defence. This tempted Johnson to throw on former Sundowns striker Mabhuti Khenyeza on the hour mark.
Despite AmaZulu’s struggles, to their credit they didn’t give up, and with just over 10 minutes to go another substitute in Siyabonga Nomvethe had a glorious chance to find the equaliser, but he was denied by Brimah in a one-on-one situation.
Nevertheless, minutes later AmaZulu’s experience in attack proved to be the difference as both Nomvethe and Khenyeza were involved in the equaliser. Nomvethe benefited from a flick on by Khenyeza and made no mistake as he tapped the ball home at the far post.
The goal made for a nervy final few minutes for both sides, and with time running out, Sundowns were dealt a killer blow. This time it was Khenyeza who was on hand to put the ball in the back of the net after Brimah found himself in no-man’s land. Try as Sundowns did to find the equaliser, they could not salvage a result as they suffered defeat for the second game on the trot.