AmaZulu clinch quarters spot
Durban - Thamsanqa Sangweni’s stunning first-half strike was enough for AmaZulu to clinch their place in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over Witbank Spurs at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.
The only goal came in the 29th minute when midfielder Sangweni unleashed a thundering volley that gave Briace Msiza no chance in the visiting goal.
The win was a fourth in five games overall for Roger Palmgren’s team, but they should have won by a bigger margin, having dominated the game.
They were the brighter of the two sides in the opening period, but there were two excellent efforts for the Mpumalanga club in that time, one of which came in just the second minute when Peter Mubayiwa forced Tapuwa Kapini to parry away a 20-yard strike.
Stanton Lewis and Tangeni Shipahu both had long-range efforts that flew over for the hosts, before Ayanda Dlamini scuffed his shot in a good position following good work from Moses Chavula and Bongani Mbele down the left.
Midway through the half, Andile Khumalo galloped into the box, but his toe-poke went just wide as AmaZulu edged closer to a goal.
Spurs responded with an optimistic attempt from Khethukuthula Zwane from outside the box that flew wide, while another attempt via a 25-yard free-kick from the same player rose over the crossbar.
Hesitant defending from the Spurs backline then allowed Dlamini in, but his shot was eventually blocked, while moments later the Usuthu frontman saw his header cleared off the line by Sfiso Nzimande.
But there was nothing anyone could do to keep out Sangweni just before the half-hour when a loose ball came towards him and he belted his first-time volley high beyond Msiza.
Spurs had another glorious chance in the 33rd minute when captain Patrick Mubayiwa forced Kapini to rush towards his left and dive full length to finger-tip away a low shot for a corner.
Shortly before the break, it should have been 2-0 when Lewis’ flick sent Chavula away down the left and his pin-point cross was met by Dlamini, who again failed to find the target.
Shipahu also had a chance to double the advantage when he latched onto a long ball and shot wide after controlling excellently on the left.
It was 1-0 at the break and after the restart Namibian Shipahu played in Ayanda Dlamini in acres of space in the box, but the striker hopelessly shot over.
Spurs looked much brighter in the second period, and after several half chances, substitute Dumisani Gamede scooped over from 10 yards out after an excellent header into his path by Ralph Matema with Kapini beaten.
With time running out, Dlamini twice had good chances to seal the game, but was denied twice by Msiza -- first by the goalkeeper’s legs and then by his hands as AmaZulu held on.
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