Result: Black Leopards 0-1 AmaZulu
Date: 04 April 2021
Venue: Thohoyandou Stadium
AmaZulu bagged a fifth straight win in the DStv Premiership after defeating Black Leopards on Sunday afternoon.
Usuthu made three changes, as they recalled Lehlohonolo Majoro, Limbikani Mzava and Sphesihle Maduna while Leopards also made a similar number of alterations, with Mohammed Anas, Lifa Hlongwane and Khomotso Masia all returning.
Benni McCarthy's charges came to the game looking to win their fifth game in a row after beating Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila 2-0 before the international break.
Meanwhile, Leopards needed victory at all costs to boost their chances of surviving relegation after their 1-1 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns extended their winless run to four matches.
The game lacked clear-cut opportunities early on and only came to life towards the end of the first stanza as Rodney Ramagalela had a powerful drive saved by shot-stopper Veli Mothwa and Sibusiso Mabiliso also unleashed a cracking strike on the stroke of half-time that produced a good save from goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.
Usuthu finally broke the deadlock just before the hour-mark courtesy of a strike by Siyethemba Sithebe inside the box after he was teed up by Augustine Mulenga.
Luvuyo Memela had a glorious chance to double the lead for AmaZulu just a minute later after rounding Mendes but he could not find the target.
McCarthy handed new signing Thabo Qalinge his debut in the last 20 minutes as he replaced Memela, in a triple chance that also saw Zukile Kewuti coming on for Mulenga and Talent Chawapiwa replacing Maduna.
Lidoda Duvha only pressurised AmaZulu in the closing minutes desperate for the equaliser and they were kept at bay, as Usuthu held on to a narrow win that saw them go up to third on the log while Leopards remained at the bottom, four points from safety.
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Here's how they started:
Leopards: 1. Mendes, 27. Makobela, 33. Khumalo, 29. Masia, 2. Gyimah, 5, Abubakar, 6. Mthethwa, 16. Ramagalela, 30. Anas, 17. Hlongwane, 19. Karuru.
Subs: 22. K.Ndlovu, Masalesa, 43. Sampson, 35. Mokoena, 15. Maluleke, 14. Kabwe, 31. T.Ndlovu, 8. Ononogbu, 41. Mathenjwa.
AmaZulu: 44. Mothwa, 17. Gumede, 29. Mabiliso, 5. Mzava, 27. Xoki, 8. Makhaula, 34. Maduna, 10. Sithebe, 20. Majoro, 15. Memela, 30. Mulenga.
Subs: 43. Boshoff, Mgwazela, 24. Masilela, 46. Kewuti, 36. Tshabalala, Qalinge, 19. Chawaphiwa, 7. Ntuli, 9. Mthembu.