Result: AmaZulu 0-1 Baroka
Date: 11 May 2021
Venue: King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium
AmaZulu's 16-game unbeaten run in the DStv Premiership came to an end after suffering a 1-0 loss to Baroka FC on Tuesday afternoon.
Benni McCarthy continued with Augustine Mulenga and Lehlohonolo Majoro up top as they went in search of a fourth straight league win to keep the pressure on Mamelodi Sundowns.
Usuthu looked to get off to an early start as Luvuyo Memela did well to pick out Tapelo Xoki who sent a header wide of Oscarine Masuluke' goal, while Evidence Makgopa went close for the visitors at the other end.
The hosts took a more dominant approach thereafter and managed to carve out a couple more openings as Mulenga and Majoro both went close at the midway point of the first half.
However, it was the men from Limpopo who got the opening goal seven minutes before the break as Richard Mbulu skipped past one challenge before curling one into the top corner for his sixth league goal of the campaign.
AmaZulu nearly pulled themselves through Majoro just before the interval, but Masuluke was at his best to keep out Majoro's left-footed effort from the edge of the box.
McCarthy responded with a double change at the start of the second half, with Thabo Qalinge and Samkelo Mgwazela replacing Mbongeni Gumede and Xola Mlambo as they went in search of an equaliser.
With the hosts dominating in the second half, Baroka nearly bagged themselves a second goal on the counter but Ananias Gebhardt was unable to profit from close range.
Talent Chawapihwa and Siphelele Mthembu were thrown on for the final 20 minutes, with Majoro and Memela making way after a frustrating afternoon.
The changes would not make the desired impact as the Limpopo outfit held on to claim maximum points while dashing Usuthu's title hopes.
Here's how they started:
AmaZulu: 44. Mothwa, 17. Gumede, 27. Xoki, 5. Sikhakhane, 29. Mabiliso, 10. Sithebe, 8. Makhaula, 23. Mlambo, 30. Mulenga, 15. Memela, 20. Majoro.
Subs: 43. Boshoff, 25. Mzava, 39. Mgwazela, 24. Masilela, 46. Kewuti, 47. Qalinge, 19. Chawapihwa, 7. Ntuli, 9. Mthembu.
Baroka: 30. Masuluke, 2. Kgoetyane, 33. Farmer, 5. Makume, 24. Jampies, 3. Gebhardt, 10. Phiri, 17. Kambala, 14. Mosele, 9. Mbulu, 27. Makgopa.
Subs: 1. Chipezeze, 20. Patjie, 19. Dickens, 15. Mogale, 37. Kamatuka, 21. Masiya, 28. Monama, 4. Seema, 18. Shozi.