AmaZulu's CAF Champions League journey starts with defeat
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DURBAN – AmaZulu’s historic first-ever CAF Champions League game ended on a frustrating note as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against ten-man Malawian club Nyasa Big Bullets at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday night in their first preliminary round first leg clash.
There is now some concern for Benni McCarthy’s side. The Durban-based side have not picked up a win from any of their four competitive games in all competitions this season. The firepower of their attack appears to have severely declined without the presence of the injured Zambian international Augustine Mulenga.
AmaZulu started the game dominating as Thabo Qalinge latched onto the ball early on and forced a save from Bullets keeper Richard Chimbamba.
Usuthu looked to exploit Big Bullets from the left channel Sphesihle Maduna latched onto a loose ball and struck his shot just wide with Chimbamba beaten.
Pulli Msowoya gave Big Bullets the lead after capitalizing on some slack defending from AmaZulu before a rare goalkeeping error from Usuthu shot-stopper Veli Mothwa allowed his side to take the lead.
Big Bullets were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time as Livison Fodya was handed a red card following a studs-up challenge on Qalinge.
Despite having a one-man advantage, AmaZulu struggled to exert themselves in the game despite dominating possession. They struggled to create opportunities as Lehlohonolo Majoro was deprived of service and virtually anonymous in the game.
There was a melee in the last ten minutes as AmaZulu managed to get the ball over the Big Bullets goal line through Thapelo Xoki but the goal was not awarded after the home side was penalized for a foul.
AmaZulu nearly drew level at the death as Keagan Buchanan's long-range shot struck the post. Buchanan was unlucky to have hit the post yet again a few minutes later before the rebound that was struck by Philani Zulu was blazed over.
Usuthu’s next game will be a Durban derby against city rivals Golden Arrows at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont next Wednesday afternoon.