AmaZulu toiled away without success on Saturday after going down 1-0 to Stellenbosch in a DStv Premiership encounter at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Pablo Franco’s boys created by far the better chances in Durban, but were undone by Anicet Oura’s goal in the 31st minute as the Maroons ended our three-match unbeaten run in the league.
Franco made two changes to the team that fought back to beat Golden Arrows 3-1 last time out, with Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Rowan Human coming in for Thembela Sikhakhane and Hendrick Ekstein.
Usuthu enjoyed a large slice of the possession in the first half and used the ball to good effect, although struggled to penetrate the opposition goal.
Sede Dion steered a header wide of the left post in the 12th minute after getting on the end of Wayde Jooste’s cross, only for the visitors to open the scoring against the run of play on 31 minutes.
Oura pounced from inside the box to register his first goal in Stellenbosch colours after Veli Mothwa had kept out a shot from Devin Titus just moments earlier.
We poured on the pressure as the first half drew to a close, with Celimpilo Ngema forcing Sage Stephens to turn his shot behind for a corner in the 35th minute, which resulted in Jooste firing wide of the left post.
Human and Ethan Brooks tried their luck from range in stoppage time, but both efforts flew fractionally wide of the left post as the referee blew the whistle for half-time.
Dion was presented with a perfect opportunity to level matters shortly after the restart when Ramahlwe Mphahlele went down under a challenge from Thabo Moloisane inside the area, but the Ivorian’s spot-kick was well saved by Stephens.
Abbubaker Mobara, Mphahlele and Riaan Hanamub all went close to an equaliser as the second half progressed, although Stephens wasn’t required to make a save.
Augustine Kwem was brought on for Dion with 24 minutes left on the clock and the hat-trick hero against Arrows almost saved us again when he met Hanamub’s cross in the 85th minute, but Stephens managed to save his header.
The Nigerian had another chance deep into stoppage time after being picked out by Hanamub from a free-kick, although his header missed the target.
AmaZulu (0) 0
Stellenbosch (1) 1 (Oura 31′)
AmaZulu: V. Mothwa, R. Mphahlele, M. Gumede, A. Mobara, R. Hanamub, W. Jooste, E. Brooks, B. Motshwari (M. Mbanjwa 55′), C. Ngema, S. Dion (A. Kwem 66′), R. Human (T. Moremi 46′).