Durban enjoyed a Soweto double after Kaizer Chiefs followed their rivals Orlando Pirates into the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals with a 3-0 triumph over AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.
Hours after Pirates edged Golden Arrows 1-0 in KwaMashu earlier in the day, Chiefs went on the warpath and buried AmaZulu, who lost rhythm after they fell behind to George Maluleka’s 31st-minute opener.
AmaZulu let Chiefs off the hook early in the tie.
First, striker Rhulani Manzini had a shot blocked by goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in the fifth minute, followed by strike partner Mabhuti Khenyeza undoing his neat work to make space for a shot by dragging the ball wide in the 23rd minute.
Jabulani Ncobeni enjoyed plenty of greenery on the left flank, which led to AmaZulu’s initial dominance. Chiefs soaked up the pressure and took charge by hitting Usuthu on the counter.
The competition’s most successful side – Amakhosi have 13 wins from 17 final appearances – showed AmaZulu who the boss is by going ahead.
Midfielder Maluleka, as he did during Chiefs’ last home game at this venue, gave the Soweto giants the lead.
He collected a pass from Siphiwe Tshabalala, drifted into the box and unleashed a dipping shot over goalkeeper Boalefa Pule.
In Chiefs’ last home game in Durban, against Baroka in late September, Maluleka gave the Amakhosi a first-half lead before they lost 2-1.
Seemingly not wanting to suffer a similar fate, Chiefs surged into attacking overdrive, but frittered away a succession of chances, without even a hint of a response from the green army at the other end.
Heads were glued on the AmaZulu goal as Hendrick Ekstein ran rings around the defence before his close-range effort was pushed for a corner, followed by Maluleka having a shot saved and Siyabonga Ngezana heading wide.
Chiefs’ dominance was not without foundation. On paper, they enjoyed a stranglehold over the Durban team, with 37 victories from 57 meetings, whereas AmaZulu won a paltry eight times in all competitions.
With Maritzburg United knocked out on Friday night by Platinum Stars, and Golden Arrows bundled out by Orlando Pirates on Saturday afternoon, the last hope of KwaZulu-Natal representation in the competition rested with AmaZulu.
Chiefs crushed that hope emphatically with a two-goal burst in three minutes.
Ekstein had a shot deflected in off a teammate for the second in the 55th minute, followed by Tshabalala ramming in the third from close range three minutes later.
It wasn’t vintage Chiefs, but more a disastrous defensive display from AmaZulu that buckled under pressure.
And Chiefs needed no second invitation to take advantage of AmaZulu’s charity.
Coach Cavin Johnson threw on attackers Siyethemba Mnguni and Somila Ntsundwana, but AmaZulu struggled to regain their early composure and shape, helped in large measure by Ekstein, Tshabalala and Joseph Molangoane’s combination plays.
Ryan Moon and Dumisani Zuma’s introductions for Tshabalala and Parker respectively only galvanised that dominance, and Chiefs might have bagged a few more goals were it not for desperate defending by AmaZulu.