Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu have advanced to the second preliminary round of the Caf Champions League after beating Big Bullets in Malawi on Saturday.
DURBAN – AmaZulu showed fortitude to thrash Nyasa Big Bullets and claim a well-deserved 3-1 win at the Bingu National Stadium in Malawi on Saturday afternoon.
The result meant that Usuthu won the two-legged playoff 3-2 on aggregate after losing the first leg 1-0 in Durban last week.
Benni McCarthy’s side have, as a result, advanced to the Caf Champions League second preliminary round and will play against Congolese football giants TP Mazembe next month.
Usuthu’s goals came via a brace from striker Bongi Ntuli while veteran Siphelele Mthembu who looked dangerous for his side throughout the game, fittingly completed the rout in the second half.
Usuthu took the lead after just four minutes as they were awarded a penalty following a handball from the home side in the fourth minute. Ntuli stepped up and slotted home successfully.
Just seven minutes later, Ntuli notched his brace as a pass from Mthembu found its way towards him before he slotted the ball home.
Usuthu received a slight scare in the 25th minute as key player and goalkeeper Veli Mothwa was in pain and received attention from the medical team but was back on his feet soon.
The Durban based side looked comfortable in defence as they did not let too many balls go past them.
As they were two goals down, Big Bullets appeared to throw men up front given that they had as many as four strikers utilised in the early parts of the second half. It paid off when Bullets scored in the 50th minute via a free kick from Henry Kabuchi.
Mthembu then scored a beautiful goal inside the box in the 55th minute. He was set-up by Ntuli who had been played in by Luvuyo Memela.
Thabo Qalinge was the engine for Usuthu in the game from midfield, stringing together neat passes and was arguably the best player in the game.
League runners up last season, the win would have been a big relief to the Usuthu management and coach McCarthy as it was their first competitive victory of the season.
Prior to the game, they had also scored just one goal in all competitions so the fact that the attack finally sparkled in this game will be a big relief to AmaZulu as they scored three goals.
Another factor that is encouraging for AmaZulu is that they controlled the game despite playing in unfamiliar territory.
Usuthu will next be in action when they play in a Durban derby against city rivals Golden Arrows at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Wednesday afternoon.