PRETORIA – AmaZulu once again left the country’s capital with three points after beating SuperSport United 1-0 at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday night, which will boost their fight for survival in their first season since buying their way back into the Premiership.
The Durban side probably wishes they played all their away games here, as their only other win on the road came at this venue against Mamelodi Sundowns in October last year.
Wednesday evening’s victory helped them complete a double over SuperSport United in what was a six-pointer.
The win pushed the victorious team out of the danger of relegation while sinking the loser deep into the relegation quicksand, especially with Ajax Cape Town beating Orlando Pirates in the night’s other match.
Evans Rusike went straight into the starting XI a day after Matsatsantsa a Pitori announced signing the Zimbabwean forward from Maritzburg United. That showed the club’s desperation to turn things around in their attack that’s been misfiring, managing a paltry three goals in their last seven matches.
Rusike scored the same number of goals in his last four matches with the Team of Choice, which is why Matsatsantsa pinned their hopes on him to fill the big boots left by Jeremy Brockie.
The few SuperSport fans who were here before kick-off cheered loudly and clapped when the announcer mentioned Rusike in the starting line-up.
The Zimbabwean struggled to get into the same wavelength as his teammates even though he led the attack with his countryman, Kingston Nkhatha.
The Tshwane side put on a spirited performance in the first half in a bid to get over the slump that sees them with just two wins from their last 13 matches.
But that amounted to nothing because SuperSport struggled to get the timing right between the run behind Usuthu’s defence and the pass to the runner.
Too often they got one of those two right, leaving Siyabonga Mbatha in the AmaZulu goal with not much to do but just watch as wave-after-wave of attack fail to trouble him.
The match opened up in the second half as a draw wouldn’t have helped neither of these two teams.
They both rattled the post in a space of two minutes.
Usuthu were more menacing when they finally took the game into SuperSport. Ovidy Karuru was quick to react inside the box to pounce a loose ball after his teammates piled the pressure on the hosts who are low in confidence.
The Zimbabwean made up for his earlier miss with only goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse to beat.
That goal spurred AmaZulu who knew that collecting maximum points would go a long way in their fight for survival. Usuthu held on for an important win which leaves coach Eric Tinkler with a lot to do to turn things around.
Matsatsantsa have not only been lacking goals but they also have failed to play well throughout 90 minutes.
They play in patches, which has seen them punished when they fall asleep while they don’t make the most of their moments of dominance.
Tinkler has been cutting a frustrated figure in the technical area, getting animated to a point that a part of him wishes he was on the pitch.
He paces up and down frantically, following the action from one end to the other.
The energy he displays on the sideline is the one his team needs to get themselves out of this slump.