AmaZulu’s CAF Champions League quarter-final bid will go down to the wire after Raja Casablanca claimed a 2-0 victory at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday evening.
Usuthu were looking to go level with the Green Eagles, who topped Group B with nine points ahead of the matchday-five encounter in Durban.
However, Benni McCarthy’s side fell behind after just six minutes when Hamid Ahadad’s opened the scoring before Ilias Haddad wrapped up the win in the second half.
The KZN outfit must beat Horoya in Guinea to stand a chance of advancing to the knockout stages as they trail the Moroccan giants by six points with one game remaining.
Raja made the perfect start as Ahadad collected the ball inside the area on the right and beat Veli Mothwa with a dinked finish on six minutes.
Amaqhawe attempted to hit back swiftly when Augustine Mulenga was played in by a quickly-taken free-kick from Keagan Buchanan in the 14th minute, although Marouane Fakhr stood firm to make the save.
Thabo Qalinge was presented with their next chance six minutes later, but he failed to test Fakhr with a left-footed shot from inside the box that flew wide of the right post.
Marouane Hadhoudi almost doubled the visitors’ lead on 22 minutes as he made contact with Moutouali’s cross, only to blast over from inside the area.
Bonginkosi Ntuli drew a save out of Fakhr with a header from Buchanan’s cross on 36 minutes, while Sandile Khumalo went close from a 41st-minute corner that he steered just over the crossbar with his head.
Raja managed to contain McCarthy’s boys in the second half before scoring again on 76 minutes. They threatened twice prior to that just moments beforehand as Ahadad and Moutouali forced Mothwa into saves.
Mothwa was hung out to dry following a mix-up in defence which allowed Haddad to beat him with ease from a corner.
AmaZulu had two sniffs at goal in the closing stages, with Thembela Sikhakhane directing a header wide of the right post from a free-kick on 84 minutes, while Ntuli tested Fakhr with a header in stoppage time.
AmaZulu (0) 0
Raja Casablanca (1) 2 (Ahadad 6′, Haddad 76′)
AmaZulu: V. Mothwa, M. Gumede, S. Khumalo (P. Ekstein 67′), T. Xoki, R. Malepe, M. Makhaula, K. Buchanan (S. Maduna 67′), T. Sikhakhane, L. Memela (A. Majok 82′), T. Qalinge, A. Mulenga (B. Ntuli 33′).
Raja Casablanca: M. Fakhr, M. Nahiri (A. Chaboud 80′), I. Haddad, M. Hadhoudi, A. Jbira (O. Soukhane 80′), F. Ngoma, M. Azrida, M. Moutouali, J. Harkass, B. Boulhroud (M. Al Makahasi 59′), H. Ahadad.