DURBAN – Kaizer Chiefs finally ended their barren run and claimed their first league win since October following their 1-0 win over AmaZulu at the Kings Park Stadium a short while ago.
An 11th minute goal from Samir Nurkovic, making his first league start of the season made the difference. The Serbian took advantage of some slack defending from Usuthu before firing past Veli Mothwa with a clinical shot.
The win will be a big relief for Chiefs and their coach Gavin Hunt as the Glamour Boys picked up only their second league win so far this season.
AmaZulu were second best on the day. Whilst the KZN side did manage to get their fair share of possession, they struggled to create clear-cut opportunities and posed no threat to Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi who had a fairly quiet afternoon between the sticks.
Usuthu’s attack this season has been a bit too over-reliant upon Augustine Mulenga and Luvuyo Memela. The duo have scored eight out of the sides 12 goals so far. This is something that the Kings Park Stadium based club will have to look to rectify going forward.
Mulenga (30) and Memela (33) are over 30 and it is imperative that their younger team-mates also come to the party if their side is to have a successful season.
Following an off day in AmaZulu’s 1-1 draw against Celtic, Memela started on the bench before being introduced in the second half. Mulenga produced good build up play in the seventh minute before shooting and just missing the target. Apart from that, the Zambian was fairly quiet.
Despite their win, there was plenty of flaws in the game of Hunt’s side on the day and they will need to still further improve if they want to finish high in the standings this season. Hunt cut a nervous figure in the final 10 minutes of the game as Usuthu dominated possession and looked threatening, ultimately failing to land themselves a good opportunity.
However, the presence of Nurkovic did clearly have an immediate impact on the Chiefs attacking rhythm. The communication in Chief’s backline between Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Daniel Cardoso and Anthony Agay was impressive.
Overall, Chiefs performance was arguably their most polished in the league so far this season. The result for the Soweto giants proved that even though they had a poor start to the season, they still have belief in themselves and can communicate as a unit. Hunt proved to his critics that he has certainly not yet lost the Chiefs change room.
AmaZulu did land the ball in the back of the net in second-half stoppage time following a Memela free-kick but it was ruled out after Akpeyi was fouled in the build-up.
The result consigned new AmaZulu boss McCarthy to his first defeat as coach of the club. His next assignment will be the KwaZulu Natal derby against Maritzburg United at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Sunday.
Chiefs will next be up against Cape Town City at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.