AmaZulu edge Santos
Carlington Nyadombo (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Carlington Nyadombo scored the only goal as AmaZulu booked their place in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals with a narrow 1-0 victory over Santos at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Sunday.
The only goal came in the 33rd minute when the Zimbabwean defender powerfully headed in a corner kick from Stanton Lewis with the hosts moving on to join Free State Stars, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United in the last four.
The match was an even contest for most parts, although it did lack the flow witnessed in Usuthu’s first game of the competition at the venue when they beat Ajax Cape Town on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw.
The men from Cape Town almost caught the home side out on the break early on when Salmaan King’s cross was behind the defence, allowing Vuyisile Wana to latch on to a header, which went agonisingly wide.
With 10 minutes gone, Matthew Pattison had time and space on the edge of the box after being teed up by Wana, but the shot was drilled over.
The hosts had to wait until just after the half-hour mark for their first opening which came when Siyabonga Vilane lifted the ball into the path of Tsweu Mokoro in the box, with a header from the latter somehow kept out by Pa Dembo Touray - the 'keeper diving late to turn the ball away for a corner.
But there was nothing the Santos custodian could do to keep out the opener from the resulting corner as Nyadombo powerfully headed in Lewis’ corner from the left.
Moments before the break Vilane could have doubled the advantage when Touray came out of his box to make a clearance, but the midfielder lobbed the ball just over as the hosts took their slender lead into the break.
After the restart, The People’s Team threatened to equalise when Kapini was tested early on via a Tyren Arendse
low shot from the right that had to be scampered away.
At the other end, substitute Ayanda Dlamini curled just metres wide from 35-yards out, before former Usuthu defender Pere Ariweriyai forced Kapini to dive low to keep out a strong close-range header.
Santos continued to look dangerous going forward, but found it difficult to get through the home defence.
With 10 minutes remaining Vilane should have at least tested Touray after meeting Goodman Dlamini’s left-sided cross with a powerful header, while the latter should have done the same after breaking through the middle - both shots flying onto the grass embankment behind the goal.
Despite the efforts of Premiership strugglers Santos, they failed to create anything in the closing stages with AmaZulu holding out for a deserved win.