SuperSport ease past AmaZulu
Mabhudi Khenyeza (Backpagepix)
Polokwane - Mabhudi Khenyeza scored a brace to lead SuperSport United to a comfortable 3-0 win over AmaZulu in a Premiership clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday.
The Pretoria side, unbeaten so far this season, recorded their first win of the season with their win over AmaZulu, after earning three frustrating draws from their first three ties.
United broke the deadlock in the 17th minute after a pinpoint cross from Franklin Cale found a free Natusaye Nyondo in the area.
Nyondo rifled a shot straight at AmaZulu goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela - who did well to keep the shot out - before the rebound fell to Khenyeza, who made no mistake from close range.
Still reeling from the opener, AmaZulu's troubles doubled when Khenyeza added to his tally eight minutes later.
Khenyeza found Nyondo in the area but was muscled off the ball by the AmaZulu defence, allowing Khenyeza to pick up the loose ball and unleash a left-footed effort to the far post, hitting the upright on the way in and past Mzimela who was left stranded.
Matsatsantsa kept up the pressure but AmaZulu came close in the 27th minute after goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez appeared to have taken AmaZulu's Ayanda Dlamini's legs out from under him, but the referee was not interested and waved play on.
AmaZulu could have reduced the lead when Kheli Dube missed an easy opportunity after a cross from Stanley Kgatla found a diving Dube who lost the ball under his feet and failed to apply the finishing touches to a solid build-up from the Kwa-Zulu Natal outfit.
United came out in the second half looking to defend their lead and add to their tally, but were unable to break down their opponents' defence as they did in the first.
The first action of the half fell to AmaZulu and a Marc van Heerden free-kick, but the defender's effort from a long way out ballooned over the bar and did not trouble Fernandez, who enjoyed a quiet day in the United goal.
Van Heerden was in action again in the 71st minute with another free-kick attempt, but the defender's effort was saved with ease by Fernandez, who did not have to move and clutched the ball to his chest to deny an optimistic Van Heerden.
AmaZulu continued to push for a goal and came close 13 minutes from time, when substitute Josef Lekata's headed attempt was barely kept out by a diving Fernandez, who got a fingertip onto the ball and helped it onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
United all but wrapped up the game seven minutes from the end, when Clifford Mulenga volleyed a spectacular effort past Mzimela after a throw-in from skipper Davis Nkausu was cleared by the defence, but only as far as Mulenga who made no mistake, firing into the back of the net and sealing the game for the former league champions.
Mulenga narrowly missed out on a second, as he saw his effort in the third minute of extra time go inches wide of the target and wrap up a dominant afternoon for Gavin Hunt's side.
SuperSport's victory moves them up to fifth in the league standings, but they are likely to drop down the table pending the outcome of the rest of Saturday and Sunday's remaining fixtures, while Usuthu remain winless and rooted to the bottom of the table.