DURBAN – Amazulu showed character as they came back from one goal down to beat Free State Stars 2-1 in an entertaining Absa Premiership encounter at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi.
Mhlengi Cele came from the bench to inspire Usuthu to a priceless three points at home, netting the winner with three minutes before the stoppage time. Cele came on for Emiliano Tade after 81 minutes.
Usuthu maintained their 100% record as they made it two from two at home. They started on a good note in their opening fixture at Umlazi as they downed Baroka FC 1-0.
Usuthu played with a lot of purpose in the second half following their poor display during the first half. Lack of communication between Mbongeni Gumede and Moeneeb Josephs gave Free State Stars the lead four minutes in to the match. The former Bafana Bafana goal-minder was way out of his line and Gumede tried to give him the ball without anticipating that he was out of position. The 38-year-old made an effort to save the ball from going in to the back of the net but his attempt was unsuccessful.
Josephs redeemed himself with a brilliant diving save to deny Cesair Gandze midway in the first half.
Eleazar Rodgers was causing all sorts of problems for Usuthu at the back with his intelligent runs behind the defence.
Tackles were flying in this match and as a result the referee, Khulasande Qongqo, produced three yellow cards in the first half. He booked Nhlanhla Vilakazi from AmaZulu, Sinethemba Jantjie and Harris Tchilimbou.
Stars were the better in the first half and created numerous clear goal scoring opportunities. Tchilimbou fluffed a glorious opportunity to stretch the lead for his side, he received a killer pass from Goodman Dlamini and rounded of Josephs and hit the post.
Usuthu were at sixes and sevens at the back because the combination of Gumede and Thapelo Nyongo wasn't working. If it wasn't for Josephs they would have conceded more goals.
Stars were penetrating Usuthu with ease and AmaZulu were restricted to long range shots.
They came back more invigorated. The Argentinian international, Emiliano Tade, opened his account with a screamer of a goal to put his side back into the match few minutes in to the second half. Keeper Kwizera Olivier was left stretching in the air as the ball kissed the net.
Usuthu were control and asking questions after questions. From there on, Tade grew in confidence. He nearly produced another moment of magic but the ball went over the bar.
Nhlanhla Vilakazi and Butholezwe Ncube were orchestrating everything for Usuthu in the middle of the park. However, Gumede was having a day to forget at the back for Usuthu. His passes were terrible and his decision making was poor.
Josephs made another important save, denying Yosuf Jappie who came on for Jantjie after the interval.
Mabhudi Khenyeza was presented with an opportunity to snatch the winner for Usuthu but his shot wasn't powerful enough. He looped the ball over Olivier but Tshepo Tema did well to clear the ball from the goal line.
Another substitute Siyethemba Sithebe was denied by the post in the dying minutes of the match.
Finally, the winner came in for Usuthu three minutes before the game ended.
Results from the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi:
AmaZulu (0) 2
Emiliano Tade, Mhlengi Cele
Free State Stars (1 ) 1