AmaZulu recorded their first win of the Premiership season as a Bongi Ntuli penalty gave them a 1-0 win over Baroka FC at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium in Durban.
After a slow start to the game, Sphesihle Maduna won Usuthu a penalty for the second consecutive game as he was brought down in the box by Joslin Kamatuka in the 13th minute. The in-form Bongi Ntuli stepped up to take the penalty for the home side and converted another spot-kick for the second game in a row as he sent Baroka keeper Elvis Chipezeze the wrong way.
While he did give away the penalty, Kamatuka caused problems for the AmaZulu defence with his positioning and crossing. The Namibian forced yellow cards from Tsepo Masilela and Maduna within two minutes due to his attacking probes.
Baroka could have drew level in the first half had Gerald Phiri Jr had his scoring boots on. The Malawian had a couple of chances to score in the first half but apart from a 38th minute shot which was just wide of Veli Mothwa’s goal, they were not worth mentioning.
Kamatuka continued to boss Usuthu around in the second half. He created yet another good opportunity in the 55th minute, this time for Decide Chauke but the 25-year-old blazed his effort over the bar.
AmaZulu did not create many good opportunities after taking the lead as their next good opportunity arrived in the 61st minute as a brilliant run from Ntuli played in Siyethemba Sithebe who forced a save from Chipezeze.
For a player who missed the majority of last season and has been on the sidelines for several months, Ntuli is showing brilliant levels of fitness and a high level of confidence. This will come to the relief of the Usuthu camp given that the club has struggled up front without the presence of Zambian talisman Augustine Mulenga through injury.
While AmaZulu managed to win the game, they will certainly know that further improvement is needed if they want to once again challenge for a top four position this season. They did give Baroka a lot of scoring opportunities, something that they cannot afford to do against the so-called bigger sides in the league.
The result moves Usuthu up to the top half of the standings.
AmaZulu will next be in action next Saturday in a home clash with Kaizer Chiefs while Baroka will host Stellenbosch FC next weekend.