Leopards edge AmaZulu in Nedbank Cup

Black Leopards have booked their place in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup after defeating AmaZulu 1-0 at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Ghanaian striker Mohammed Anas scored the only goal of the game as Lidoda Duvha brought Usuthu’s recent run of good form under coach Benni McCarthy to an abrupt end.

AmaZulu looked the more dangerous team in the opening quarter hour, with the clever movement of Lehlohonolo Majoro providing a fine attacking outlet, while Siphesihle Maduna gave the visitors thrust and creativity down the left flank.

Just past the half-hour mark AmaZulu almost claimed the lead, with Tsepo Masilela getting on the end of a great free kick delivery from Siphiwe Tshabalala, but his headed effort was brilliantly clawed away by Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu.

Leopards grew into the game as the first half wore on, offering more and more of a threat. They finally drew a notable save from AmaZulu’s Neil Boshoff in the 39th minute, with Tumelo Khutlang’s curling effort plucked out of the air by the goalkeeper.

Lidoda Duvha’s improvement continued into the second half and saw the break the deadlock seven minutes after the restart: in the aftermath of a corner kick, Tsheamo Mashoene whipped in a fine cross from the left flank, Lifa Hlongwane nodded the ball down and Mohammed Anas had an easy finish from close range for 1-0.

AmaZulu responded with a double change which saw the introductions of Mbongeni Gumede and Siyethemba Sithebe off the bench, but it was Leopards who almost scored the next goal, with Rodney Ramagalela’s low shot from the right of the penalty area requiring a fine save from Boshoff in the 62nd minute.

Ten minutes later the same two players had another battle, with Ramagalela’s long-range effort tipped over the bar by Boshoff as Leopards continued their search for a second goal, yet Usuthu remained in the fight.

The Durban side threw numbers forward in the dying minutes in an effort to get back into the tie, but Leopards held firm in defence and goalkeeper King Ndlovu showed impeccable handling whenever called upon.

The teams will shift focus back to the DStv Premiership this coming Tuesday, 2 March as AmaZulu host SuperSport United and Leopards visit Maritzburg United.

Black Leopards (0) 1 (Anas 52’)

AmaZulu 0

Leopards: K. Ndlovu, Matsimbi, Nthatheni, Gyimah, Mashoene, Ramagalela (Mokoena 90’), Abubakar (Makgetlwa 75’), Mthethwa, Khutlang (Thutlwa 64’), Hlongwane (Maluleke 75’), Anas (Karuru 90+1’)

AmaZulu: Boshoff, Sikhakhane, Mgwazela, Mzava, Masilela (Mahlambi 84’), Tshabalala (Gumede 58’), Makhaula, Kewuti, Maduna (Sithebe 58’), Chawapiwa (Magubane 72’), Majoro (Mthembu 72’)