|Mabhudi Khenyeza © Backpagepix
A first half brace by man-of-the match Mabhuti Khanyeza and a late second half strike by substitute striker Clifford Mulenga were enough to give SuperSport United their first win of the season over AmaZulu at a chilly Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday afternoon.
Though it was not a polished performance by their standards, United coach Gavin Hunt will be satisfied that they scored three goals ahead of their MTN8 final against Moroka Swallows next weekend as they looked organised in all departments.
For AmaZulu, who remains winless after four matches, it is back to the drawing board and one of the areas that coach Roger Palmgrem must focus on at training during the week will be his woeful defence.
Tamsanqa Teyise, Carlington Nyadombo and Tsweu Mokoro were found wanting on numerous occasions by the speed and agility of Khanyeza, Francklyn Cale and Jabu Maluleke.
After four games, Usuthu have conceded eleven goals and are yet to score, and they have a mountain to climb to get their campaign back on track.
The game got off to a slow start with no notable chances in the opening few minutes as they gauged each other.
The best attack of the game came in the 7th minute when United’s recent recruit Rascoe Pieterson made a telling run down the right flank from where he delivered a dipping cross that was wasted by Atusaye Nyondo.
With United having made their intentions clear, the visitors were woken up into action and they made a few forays into the United danger area through their key attackers Ayanda Dlamini and Mkhohkeli Dube.
As the clock ticked by, the two teams continued to exchange blows and it came as no surprise when United took the lead in the 17th minute from the boot of Mabhuti Khanyeza.
For the opener, disparate AmaZulu goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela could only block Nyondo’s close range effort into the path of unmarked Khanyeza, who had an easy task of slotting the ball into an empty net.
The opening goal made saw United start exerting their authority on the game as the likes of Cale, Mark Haskins, Edwin Gyima and Khanyeza were allowed space to dictate terms and launch attacks.
As fragile as it was, the AmaZulu defence was once again breached in the 25th minute when Khanyeza registered his double with a low shot from his weaker left foot after he was allowed enough space in the box to control the ball.
United enjoyed the lions’ share of the chances that were created in this game, but the visitors also had their moments on the attack like in the 37th minute when Dube fluffed his chance with Rowen Fernendez to beat.
Early on after restart, AmaZulu tried to pull one goal back but the United defence marshaled by Bafana Bafana international defender Bevan Fransman stood firm.
The pressure of AmaZulu’s early season failings was not only seen on the players, but it was evident on the bench as there was confusion regarding which player was to be replaced by striker Josef Lekata in the 73rd minute.
Lekata was finally introduced for Khulekani Madondo and he nearly made an immediate impact when his point blank header was parried over the crossbar by Rowen Fernandez.
The man who made an immediate impact was Zambian international Clifford Mulenga who blasted home from David Nkausu’s throw-in to pin the final nail in the coffin on AmaZulu.
SuperSport United (2) 3 (Khanyeza 17’ + 25’, Mulenga 82’)
AmaZulu (0) 0
SuperSport United: Fernandez, Pieterson, Diouf, Fransman, Nkausu, J Maluleke, Gyima, Haskins, Cale (Mulenga 78), Khanyeza (Erasmus 85), Nyondo (Nkoana 69)
AmaZulu: Mzimela, Mokoro, Teyise, Nyadombo, Van Heerden, Kgatla, Senamela, Madondo (Lekata 73), A Dlamini, Dube (Mshengu 64), Johnson (G Dlamini 46)