Royal AM brush AmaZulu aside in KZN derby

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DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 08: Sera Motebang of Royal AM celebrates scoring during the DStv Premiership match between Royal AM and AmaZulu FC at Chatsworth Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 08: Sera Motebang of Royal AM celebrates scoring during the DStv Premiership match between Royal AM and AmaZulu FC at Chatsworth Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Royal AM registered their first win of the year after defeating KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu 2-0 in the DStv Premiership on Sunday afternoon.

Usuthu handed a debut to Sede Dion as Hendrick Pule Ekstein was given a start, while Elias Pelembe, Motebang Sera, Khethukuthula Ndlovu and Shadrack Kobedi came in as Royal AM's changes.

The host were in the lead on 12 minutes as Sera towered in the area and headed in Pelembe’s pin-point cross from the right-side of the area.

Defender Ricardo Nascimento very nearly doubled the lead midway in the first half with a curling free-kick outside the area, but AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa parried for a corner-kick.

Usuthu managed to come to the fore and enjoyed a lot possession in promising areas as well as pinned the host to their own half with the off-the-ball runs from Dion and Mhango.

The travelling outfit then put on a double change at halftime, as Lehlohonolo Majoro came on for Mhango while Thabo Qalinge replaced Larry Bwalya.

AmaZulu appeared renewed due to the introduction as a free-kick by Riaan Hanamub resulted in a flick on by Tercious Malepe that Makhehlene Makhaula pounced on before going over target.

Usuthu provided another threat when Ekstein dropped in space from the cusp of the area and drilled wide of the six-yard box.

With time running out, the visitors received another opening to draw level near the last 20 minutes from a shot in the area by Majoro following a scramble, but the veteran forward dragged over.

Thwihli Thwahla, though, made the points safe with five minutes to go as Mxolisi Macuphu guided Menzi Masuku’s delivery past Mothwa.

Usuthu were unable to launch a comeback in the closing stages, as the host walked away with the maximum points to climb up to fifth spot.

Confirmed line-ups:

Royal AM: Nyame, Rikhotso, Matlaba, Nascimento, Kobedi, Ndlovu, Pelembe, Cele, Mahlasela, Potsane, Sera.

Subs: Ngcobo, Dlamini, Manganyi, Mogaila, Mashiane, Thikazi, Gamildien, Masuku, Macuphu

AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Hanamub, Mphahlele, Gumede, Makhaula, Malepe, Bwalya, Mhango, Dion, Ekstein

Subs: Mzimela, Khumalo, Mabiliso, Kunene, Qalinge, Ndlovu, Zuma, Ntuli, Majoro

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