UMLAZI – Kaizer Chiefs ended AmaZulu’s impressive home record in the league with an emphatic 3-2 victory at King Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday.
Usuthu were still unbeaten at home in the Premiership this season, but Amakhosi ended that record as they maintained their 12-year winning streak over AmaZulu.
Chiefs are now unbeaten in 20 league matches against Usuthu.
It was a tremendous morale boost for Chiefs ahead of their Caf Confederation Cup tie against Zesco United of Zambia on Saturday at FNB Stadium, where they are trailing 3-1.
Thapelo Nyongo committed a terrible blunder a few seconds into the game as he tried to play a back pass to Siyabonga Mbatha between the sticks, but his attempt was not precise.
Leonardo Castro intercepted the pass and shot at the empty net. His effort hit the woodwork and deflected off Marc van Heerden before it went into the net as Amakhosi took an early lead.
Usuthu committed countless mistakes in the first 20 minutes of the game with their sloppy passing and shaky defending.
Amakhosi pressed them high and didn’t allow them to build from the back with freedom, which led to errors.
The surface was a bit wet due to light drizzle before the game, but the atmosphere was electric as the masses came in their numbers as usual when Amakhosi are in town.
Lebogang Manyama should have doubled the lead for Chiefs after exchanging some deft touches with Hendrick Ekstein and Siphosethu Ntiya-Ntiya, but his execution let him down.
Virgil Vries showed a great sense of anticipation to keep AmaZulu at bay at 26 minutes.
Bongi Ntuli sold a dummy to Mario Booysen and then tried to find Emiliano Tade, who was waiting to pounce, but Vries read the situation as he came out to clear the ball with a well-timed tackle.
Castro tested Mbatha with a thunderbolt outside the box, but the Umlazi-born keeper produced a fine save to deny the Colombian just minutes before the interval.
Chiefs were all over Usuthu in the first half. They played with zeal and tenacity. They were quick on the transition, resolute at the back and good with their movement on and off the ball.
The German started the game with a 3-5-2 system. On the other hand, Cavin Johnson utilised his usual 4-4-2 for AmaZulu, which requires the wingers to cut inside and open the space for the fullbacks to storm forward.
Usuthu restored parity on the hour mark as Ovidy Karuru profited from Tade’s diligence on the left-hand side.
Four minutes later, Amakhosi were back in the lead.
Bernard Parker showed that class is permanent. He unleashed a bullet to beat Mbatha at his near post for a goal that came from nowhere.
Willard Katsande settled the game 11 minutes before the final whistle when Parker flicked on Khama Billiat’s corner into the path of the Chiefs captain, who did well to direct his attempt into the back of the net.
Van Heerden tried to conjure up a comeback for Usuthu when he struck at the death, but it was too late for AmaZulu to come back.
90 +4’| #AM 2 : 3 #KC— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) January 16, 2019
Full time score: (Karuru 61’, Van Heerden 90 +3’) AmaZulu FC 2 : 3 Kaizer Chiefs (Van Heerden o.g. 1’, Parker 64’, Katsande 79’) #AbsaPrem #HailTheChief #Amakhosi4Life pic.twitter.com/xjcu7SnQJg