Durban - Minnows Tembu Royals produced a Nedbank Cup upset after goals from Sechaba Mofekeng and Zukisa Ginya helped them stun AmaZulu 2-1 in their last 32 encounter in Umlazi, outside Durban, on Wednesday night.
Mofekeng silenced the hosts with a cracking long-range opening goal after 22 minutes, before Ginya’s header straight after the break doubled the advantage.
Joseph Molangoane pulled one back for Usuthu, but they failed to find the equaliser and were left shocked, just like fellow Premiership clubs Orlando Pirates and Chippa United had been by lower division opposition over the weekend.
The Royals, from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, began brightly, showing plenty of energy and enthusiasm during the early exchanges.
However, Sifiso Vilakazi had the first opening for the hosts, which he nodded straight over after a clever free-kick to the near post from Marc van Heerden.
Solomzi Mhlana then forced the first real save of the game after 12 minutes when his rasping drive from outside the area forced Mbongeni Mzimela to react swiftly to his left and turn the ball away for a corner.
Moments later Sanele Dukada was almost played in on the left following a swift break, although the final pass from the advancing Thobile Mkize was poor.
But there was nothing poor about the opening goal from Mofekeng, which left the hosts stunned - the attacker picking up on a failed clearance by the Usuthu defence, controlling the ball on the edge of the box and lashing the ball in.
Craig Rosslee’s men tried to fight their way back during the remainder of the half, but lacked any threat in the final third as the recent lack of game time for strike duo Vilakazi and Bongani Ndulula clearly showed.
The scoreline remained the same until the interval, and less than two minutes into the second half, the advantage was doubled.
Mkize, who almost instantly after the restart forced Mzimela to push away his close-range shot for a corner, provided the assist, with his floated cross from the right steered into the left corner by the head of Ginya.
Usuthu finally mustered a response in the 59th minute when a corner from the left was tipped onto the post by Langeni Gogo after a strong header from Willem Mwedihanga.
And seconds later they hit back when Kagiso Senamela intercepted a loose pass from the Royals defence and played in Molangoane through the middle, with the midfielder firing in cleverly off the post.
The goal rocked the Royals and they almost conceded their lead nine minutes later when Molangoane’s attempt deflected off a defender on to the underside of the crossbar.
Stanley Kgatla then should have scored for the home team when he collected a good cross from Molangoane, only to hurriedly push his shot wide.
With time running out, Gogo produced a stunning point-blank save from Makhosonke Bhengu, who was excellently picked out for a close-range header by Van Heerden’s expert cross from the left.
Deep into stoppage time Molangoane struck the side-netting as the minnows held on for a memorable win. - Sapa