Absa Premiership

AmaZulu out of the drop zone after comeback win over Celtic

2019-12-22 17:56
Absa Premiership trophy
Absa Premiership trophy (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - AmaZulu came from behind to claim a crucial three points and lift themselves out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium on Sunday.

Celtic had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute. Lantshene Phalane whipped an excellent corner in to the box but Teboho Khasipe headed narrowly wide from close range after outjumping Usuthu striker Bongi Ntuli.

The home side were exerting most of the pressure but AmaZulu were still posing questions on the counter-attack.

Phunya Sele Sele were certainly looking a threat from set-pieces and another dangerous corner was headed towards goal once again by Khasipe in the 11th minute but his header was in to the ground and straight at Neil Boshoff in the Usuthu goal.

Midfielder Michael Morton was being deployed as a makeshift centre-back and appeared to be struggling in his new position, with his lack of pace being exposed at times, especially by Celtic attacker Harris Tchilimbou.

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was in the 27th minute when AmaZulu midfielder Siyethemba Sithebe played a beautiful through ball for Talent Chawapiwa, whose attempted lob over the goalkeeper trickled inches wide of the post.

Having almost taken the lead, the away side found themselves trailing soon afterwards. Phalane once again showed off that magic left foot with a wonderful ball over the top for Lucky Baloyi, who crossed in to the area from the right-hand side over the outrushing Boshoff for Siphelele Luthuli to get to the ball first and head home in to an empty net.

But AmaZulu were not to be cowed in to submission and responded shortly afterwards when Jabulani Ncobeni showed impressive trickery down the left-hand side before bringing a fine save out of Celtic shot-stopper Jackson Mabokgwane with a left-footed shot on the angle.

Usuthu were rewarded for their endeavour in the 41st minute. Penuell Maduna crossed into the area from the left side. Ntuli controlled and rolled his marker superbly in the small box before directing the ball into the far corner from close range.

The hosts almost restored their lead two minutes after the interval. The ball was crossed into the AmaZulu area, but headed out straight into the path of Tchilimbou on the right. The keeper rushed off his line and Tchilimbou hooked the ball over the bar.

The visitors' turnaround was complete in the 63rd minute. Replacement Butholezwe Ncube played a one-two with Sithebe and bamboozled two defenders as he cut inside before firing the ball clinically in to the bottom right-hand corner and in doing so becoming the only player besides Ntuli to have scored in the Absa Premiership this season.

Mabokgwane would ensure AmaZulu claimed all three points with another fine save in the closing stages as he diverted Ntuli's effort around the post after a bit of pin-ball in the box.


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