/ 14 March 2012

Striking AmaZulu performance secures final 16 spot

Striking Amazulu Performance Secures Final 16 Spot

Tapuwa Kapini scored a penalty and then saved one as AmaZulu booked their place in the Nedbank Cup last 16 with a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Ajax Cape Town in their replayed encounter in KwaMashu on Tuesday night.

In an epic encounter at the Princess Magogo Stadium, the hosts fell 2-0 behind after goals from Thembinkosi Fanteni, two minutes before half time and Khama Billiat just after the hour mark.

But two goals in eight minutes from Tamsanqa Teyise and Goodman Dlamini turned the game on its head, before Billiat again silenced the passionate home fans with his second in the 81st minute.

But two minutes into stoppage time, Dlamini grabbed his second to send the game into extra time.

Thulani Hlatshwayo, Paul Rusike and Thato Mokeke all scored for the Urban Warriors but Kapini saved superbly from Keamogetse Wolff, while George Akpabio shot wildly over as the Usuthu held on for a 4-3 win — the penalty takers for the home side being Carlington Nyadombo, Tsweu Mokoro, Kapini and Thamsanqa Sangweni.

The original encounter between the two sides was abandoned at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday due to rain and a waterlogged pitch with the rematch taking place just outside the city.

Fine counter attack
Ajax carved out the first chance of the game after seven minutes when Billiat forced Kapini to dive to his left and turn a curled 25-yard free-kick away for a corner.

Shortly after Fanteni combined nicely with Alexander Cole through the middle, whose strong shot was blocked from just four yards out.

The Usuthu then hit back with a fine counter attack that led to Andile Khumalo denied on the line by a last-ditch Aidan Jenniker save on the line.

Moments later Sangweni’s goal-bound free-kick from 20-yards out caused more excitement in the stands as Sean Roberts dived late to divert the ball wide.

But there was no denying the Urban Warriors in the 43rd minute when Fanteni collected on the edge of the box, spun past his man Nyadombo and fired low beyond Kapini.

It was 1-0 at the break and after the restart, Sangweni should have tested Roberts as he drove towards the box but instead dragged his shot wide, while Goodman Dlamini did the same after he worked a neat one-two with Siyabonga Vilane.

Spurned golden chance
Just before the hour mark, Mokeke spurned a golden chance to put the visitors 2-0 up when he guided Billiat’s cross wide.

But there was no denying Ajax in the 62nd minute, though, when Fanteni put Billiat through and the Zimbabwean beat countryman Kapini with a clinical finish.

The hosts pulled one back in the 71st minute when Teyise rose highest to head in Goodman Dlamini’s corner and nine minutes later the comeback was completed as Ayanda Dlamini’s shot was parried by Roberts and Goodman Dlamini was on hand to finish.

But less than a minute later, Ajax were back in front after Billiat beat the off-side trap to latch on to a high ball from the right and gave Kapini no chance with an easy finish.

Substitute Stanton Lewis was then twice denied by the excellent Roberts, who kept out first with his legs and then with one hand, before Goodman Dlamini scored two minutes into extra time to make it 3-3.

In extra-time, Ayanda Dlamini should have buried a good chance early on when he poked a long ball wide, with Lewis again stinging the gloves of Roberts in what were the two real chances, before the tie was eventually decided on spot-kicks. — Sapa