Tapelo Nyongo hands AmaZulu victory

AmaZulu edge out Free State Stars 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday.

The victory takes Usuthu to the top of the league table on their return to the top-flight after purchasing Thanda Royal Zulu's PSL status.

Usuthu were the better side in the opening exchanges as they played a good brand offensive football in search of an early goal.

However, the hosts were redured to 10 men in the 13th minute as defender Sadat Ouro-Akoriko was red-carded following a scuffle with the opposition.

Ea Lla Koto then pushed more men forward as they looked to take advantage of their numerical advantage, but the AmaZulu defence was solid.

In the 24th minute, former Kaizer Chiefs striker Siphelele Mthembu was introduced by Stars coach Sammy Troughton for Allen Nono, who had sustained an injury.

Usuthu were able to launch attacks with veteran striker Mabhuti Khenyeza leading their attack, but they were finding it difficult to penetrate the Stars defence.

The score was 0-0 at the interval following a relately quiet first-half in the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Durban.

AmaZulu goalkeeper Boalefa Pule and Stars shot-stopper Badra Ali Sangare were not seriously tested in the first 10 minutes of the second-half.

New AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson decided to make his maiden change in the 67th minute - pulling out Nkanyiso Zungu for defender Vukile Mngqibisa.

Stars were also reduced to 10 men in the late stages of the game as Sifiso Mbhele was sent off for a high tackle on AmaZulu defender Thembela Sikhakhane.

The hosts were then awarded a penalty in the 86th minute after Ovidy Karuru was fouled in the box and Tapelo Nyongo converted from the spot-kick to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu.

AmaZulu managed to contain Stars in the remaining minutes of the match and they ran put 1-0 winners.

AmaZulu (0) 1 (Nyongo 87')
FS Stars (0) 0
AmaZulu: Pule, Mtsweni, Ouro-Akoriko, Sikhakhane, Nyongo, Morton, Darpoh, Zungu (Mngqibisa 67'), Karuru, Ramphele (L.Dlamini 79'), Khenyeza.
FS Stars: Sangare, Masehe, Mahamutsa, Mbhele, Jantjie, Mashego, Teyise, Vilakazi, Venter, Dlamini (Hlubi 59'), Nono (Mthembu 24').