Durban – Goodman Dlamini snatched a late winner as AmaZulu climbed to second on the Premiership table, with a battling 1-0 victory over Ajax Cape Town at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, in Durban, on Tuesday.
The goal came three minutes from time when the midfielder slotted in a pass from debutant Tshepo Liphoko after a quick counter-attack.
It was a harsh result on the coachless Urban Warriors, who dominated large passages of play without finding the back of the net, with the result leaving them in 10th place.
Usuthu made the brighter of the starts in front of a sparse crowd and had their first chance after 10 minutes when Goodman Dlamini escaped down the right and forced goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola to tip over his rising shot.
From the resulting corner, Carlington Nyadombo powered a header just over.
The hosts continued to press early on, but were then almost caught out on the break as Tashreeq Morris cut back to the outstanding Keagan Dolly, whose first touch was poor, and second allowed him to poke a tame effort wide.
That spelt a change in the tide of the game as Ajax grew in confidence and they should have taken the lead on the other side of the half-hour when Dolly fired a one-on-one chance tamely at Philani Zikalala after being played through on the right side of the box by Carl Lark.
Minutes later Nathan Paulse forced the Usuthu goalkeeper to turn wide his low shot towards the far post, while Dolly again shot wastefully straight at Zikalala before the break.
After the restart Thamsanqa Teyise should have done better when a Njabulo Manqana free-kick somehow reached him at the far post, the defender skewing wide.
Ajax came closest to breaking the deadlock after 66 minutes when a right-sided cross by Nazeer Allie was headed downwards towards goal by Morris forcing Zikalala to push the ball onto the right upright.
AmaZulu immediately responded as a 30-yard Sifiso Hlanti free-kick kissed the cross-bar on its way over.
Another gilt-edge chance went begging after 75 minutes when Dolly skipped down the left and delivered to Morris, who somehow diverted over with only Zikalala to beat.
Replacement Eleazar Rodgers came close in the 86th minute when his backwards header from a Dolly cross was headed over, with AmaZulu then going ahead from the resulting breakaway.
Rodgers and Morris both tested Zikalala again during the four minutes of added time, but the home side held on. – Sapa