Memela fires Usuthu to Setif win

Team celebrates the goal of Luvuyo Memela of AmaZulu FC during the CAF Champions League 2021/22 football match between Amazulu and ES Setif held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa on 25 February 2022 ©Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

AmaZulu FC secured a 1-0 win over Algerian giants ES Setif in a CAF Champions League Group B match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday evening.

As a result, Usuthu moved up to second place on the group standings – level on points with leaders Raja Casablanca of Morocco and they will now host Stellenbosch FC in the DStv Premiership match on March 2.

Usuthu should have been 1-0 up within the first minute of the game after a mistake by the visitors’ goalkeeper Zakaria Bouhalfaya, who came out and completely missed the ball.

However, somehow Augustine Mulenga missed an open net much to the surprise of the AmaZulu technical team including head coach Benni McCarthy, who was a prolific finisher during his playing days.

Setif did launch a few attacks as the Black Eagles looked to break the deadlock. Ibrahem Bodbous and Mohamed Ziti were both denied by Veli Mothwa with the AmaZulu keeper keen to keep a clean sheet on the night.

The hosts upped the tempo as the half-time break approached and they did break the deadlock. Luvuyo Memela scored with a deflected shot from outside the visitors’ box in the 42nd minute and AmaZulu were leading 1-0 at the interval.

Usuthu continued to put pressure on the Black Eagles’ defence with Siphelele Mthembu looking to use his imposing physique to unsettle the visitors and did well to turn inside the visitors’ box, but his shot was deflected wide of the target.

The visitors looked dangerous on the counterattack and they nearly level matters through Ahmed Kendouci. The 22-year-old midfielder was sent through on goal, but Tapelo Xoki produced a making last-ditch block to deny Kendouci.

Nabil Kouki, the Setif head coach, reacted by making a triple substitution – introducing Ibrahim Farhi, Karim Nemdil and Khalil Darfalou. However, the AmaZulu stood firm at the back and ultimately, they ran out 1-0 winners on the night.

AmaZulu (1) 1 (Memela 42′)
Setif (0) 0

AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Khumalo (Sikhakhane 46′), Xoki (Mgwazela 78′), Zulu (Moleko 88′), Memela, Buchanan Makhaula, Ceesay, Mthembu (Majok 69′), Mulenga (Moremi 78′).

Setif: Bouhalfaya, Ziti, Belkaroui, Brahimi, Laribi, Karaoui (Nemdil 68′), Bodbous (Farhi 68′), Kendouci, Motrani (Bakrar 81′), Boutiche (Benayad 90’+1), Djabou (Darfalou 69′).