DURBAN – AmaZulu showed the courage to beat Nyasa Big Bullets to a well-deserved 3-1 victory at Bingu National Stadium in Malawi on Saturday afternoon.
The result means Usuthu won the home and away playoffs 3-2 overall after losing the first leg 1-0 in Durban last week.
Benni McCarthy’s side have also qualified for the second preliminary round of the Caf Champions League and will face Congolese football giant TP Mazembe next month.
Usuthu’s goals were scored by a brace from striker Bongi Ntuli while veteran Siphelele Mthembu, who looked dangerous for his side throughout the game, rightly completed the rout in the second half.
Usuthu took the lead after just four minutes, after receiving a penalty after a home hand in the fourth minute. Ntuli stepped up and successfully returned home.
Just seven minutes later, Ntuli notched his brace as a pass from Mthembu found its way to him before returning the ball home.
Usuthu received a slight fright in the 25th minute as key player and goalkeeper Veli Mothwa suffered and received the attention of the medical team, but quickly recovered.
The Durban-based team seemed comfortable in defense as they didn’t let too many balls pass them.
With two goals behind, the Big Bullets seemed to throw the men in the lead as they had up to four forwards used at the start of the second half.
The balls scored in the 50th minute on a free kick from Henry Kabuchi.
Mthembu then scored a nice goal inside the box in the 55th minute. It was created by Ntuli who had been played by Luvuyo Memela.
Thabo Qalinge drove Usuthu into the game from midfield, stringing together neat passes and was arguably the best player in the game.
The League finalist last season, the victory would have been a great relief for Usuthu’s management and coach McCarthy as it was their first competitive victory of the season.
Before the game they had also only scored one goal in all competitions so the fact that the attack finally sparked in this game will be a big relief for AmaZulu as they have scored three goals.
Another encouraging factor for AmaZulu is that they controlled the game while playing in uncharted territory.
Usuthu will next be in action when they play in a Durban derby against their city rivals Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Wednesday afternoon.