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Johannesburg – A late header Free States Stars Enva Wiltwer was enough to secure the points as they posted a 1-0 victory over AmaZulu in their Premiership encounter at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
The winner came in the 86th minute when Tsietsi Mkwanazi crossed expertly from the left to set up the defender as the visitors clinched a deserved victory that lifted them to sixth on the log.
Roger Palmgren’s AmaZulu remained second last.
The visitors enjoyed the bulk of early possession, but the best effort they could muster was a long-range Dove Wome strike, which drifted wide.
Usuthu, playing with the wind behind their backs, had to wait until the 17th minute for their first chance and it was a superb one too as Ayanda Dlamini flicked into the path of Andile Khumalo, but the forward guided the ball straight into the arms of goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng.
As the conditions worsened, both sides found it increasingly more difficult to control the ball with further chances few and far between.
After play was briefly held up when the advertising boards had to be removed from behind the home end, Usuthu did manage two attempts before the interval, the first when Dlamini sent a rising shot over as his team drove forward.
A last ditch Sadate Ouro-Akoriko then denied the waiting Khumalo after a dangerous cross from Marc van Heerden was not cleanly dealt with by the Stars defence.
It was goalless at the break and after the restart Wome sped into the box to collect a long-ball, which was blazed over, before Lehlohonolo Thebakang came closest to scoring in the 51st minute when he shook off his marker and struck perfectly with his left foot, only to be denied by the right upright.
Moeketsi Mvula was the player that provided the diagonal ball for his team-mate and the striker should have done better moments later with three men to pick out in the box as Ea Lla Koto again attacked.
Stars again cut open the AmaZulu defence after 75 minutes when Wiltwer should have attacked Luyolo Nomandela’s perfectly weighted cross from the left that landed in front of the attacker.
When the home side finally managed to muster an attack, Dlamini’s attempted cross failed to pick out replacement Josef Lekata at the back post.
Seconds later, the Usuthu captain did manage to slide across to Lekata, who should have made a connection which he failed to.
And the hosts were made to pay for that miss when Wiltwer grabbed the winner four minutes from the end when he outjumped his marker to head the Free Staters in front.
Van Heerden hit side netting with 20-yard free-kick in stoppage time, but Steve Komphela’s team held on. – Sapa