Richards Bay continued their impressive start to the DStv Premiership season after claiming a dramatic 1-0 victory over AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Sifiso Dladla’s side were on the front foot in the first half, but Usuthu improved markedly after the break and caused a few problems of their own before Veli Mothwa inadvertently conceded a late own-goal to suffer a cruel defeat.
The Natal Rich Boyz moved up to second in the standings, two points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, with the club from Durban dropping to eighth following a third loss in four encounters.
Usuthu were looking to snap a four-match winless streak in the league, while Richards Bay came into the clash on the back of a three-game unbeaten run.
Both teams enjoyed a fairly even share of the possession in the first half, although the visitors created by far the better chances.
Their first opportunity arrived from a corner in the 11th minute when Abel Mabaso steered a header wide of the left post, while the hosts’ first foray into the final third on 16 minutes saw Augustine Kwem drag his shot past the near post from inside the area on the left.
Mothwa was called into action for the first time on 33 minutes as he prevented Somila Ntsundwana’s strike from finding the bottom left corner of the net and he pulled off an even better save seven minutes later to deny Sanele Barns, who ran clean through on goal.
Richards Bay would finish the half strongly, with Mpho Mathebula and Ntsundwana both testing Mothwa from inside the box in the space of three minutes.
AmaZulu made a bright start to the second half and managed their first attempts on target as Kwem drew a save out of Jamal Salim on 51 minutes after meeting Abbubaker Mobara’s cross with his head before Tercious Malepe gave the keeper more work to do with a header on the hour mark after Ethan Brooks picked him out at the back post.
The game was temporarily halted on 74 minutes due to lightning in the vicinity and when play eventually resumed, Thembela Sikhakhane threatened with a header that flew past the right post from a free-kick.
Sikhakhane managed to hit the target with his next attempt on 78 minutes, but was unable to beat Salim from inside the area.
Richards Bay finally had the beating of Mothwa in the second minute of stoppage time, although there was an element of fortune in their winner as Sakhile Hlongwa’s free-kick struck the crossbar and ricocheted back off the keeper before rolling over the line.
AmaZulu (0) 0
Richards Bay (0) 1 (Mothwa OG 90+2′)
AmaZulu: V. Mothwa, M. Gumede (S. Khumalo 21′), A. Mobara, R. Mphahlele, T. Sikhakhane, R. Malepe, E. Brooks, S. Mabiliso (M. Kunene 78′), G. Maluleka, A. Kwem (R. Bwalya 78′), L. Majoro (D. Zuma 67′).
Richards Bay:J. Salim, K. Maphathe, N. Nyauza, S. Mcineka, T. Mabua, M. Mathebula, S. Barns, A. Mabaso (N. Mdabuka 31′), L. Memela (M. Mthembu 67′), S. Msani (S. Hlongwa 76′), S. Ntsundwana.
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