An 89th-minute goal from Mhlengi Cele saw AmaZulu came from a goal behind to beat Free State Stars 2-1 in an Absa Premiership match at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday.
It was the worst possible start for AmaZulu who conceded a goal after only four minutes following a horrible back pass from Mbongeni Gumede which Moneeb Josephs was unable to stop.
Stars nearly doubled their lead ten minutes later when Eleazar Rodgers played Cesaire Gandze through on goal, but he failed to beat the AmaZulu keeper in a one-on-one situation.
AmaZulu’s first real scoring opportunity came just after the half hour mark when Mabhuti Khenyeza played Tapelo Nyongo into space on the edge of the box, but he fired inches over the target.
In the 40th minute Bangali Keita showed some great skill as he dribbled his way past two defenders before rounding Josephs, but with the keeper beat he only succeeded in striking his effort against the woodwork.
Three minutes later Rodgers played Goodman Dlamini through on goal, but Josephs was quickly off his line to deny him.
The half ended 1-0 in favour of Stars.
Ten minutes into the second half AmaZulu managed to equalise following a great team goal which concluded with Emiliano Tade rounded his marker before firing into the top corner from just inside the box.
Usuthu controlled the match after that, but they struggled to fashion decent goal-scoring chances with their last pass in the final third often letting them down.
AmaZulu came bitterly close to taking the lead in the 81st minute when Khenyeza broke through on goal, but was superbly denied in a one-on-one with the Stars keeper.
The Durban-based side continued to push forward and were rewarded with the winning goal in the 89th minute when a right-wing cross from Tapelo Nyongo was expertly tucked home by substitute Mhlengi Cele from 14 yards out.
Tade 54’, Cele 89’
Free State Stars1
Gumede 4’ OG
AmaZulu: Josephs, Sikhakhane, Mabiliso, Nyongo, M. Gumede, Ncube, Vilakazi, Ramphela (Ntsundwana 73’), Ncobeni (Sithebe 75’), Tade (Cele 85’), Khenyeza.
Free State Stars: Kwizera, Mobbie, Tema, Keita, Makhaula, Masehe, Gandze (Bhengu 90’), Jantjie (Jappie 62’), Dlamini (Maruping 75’), Rodgers, Tchilimbou.