Back-to-back 1-0 victories for South Africa’s AmaZulu has launched them into second place in Group B of the CAF Champions League, Friday’s result against ES Sétif putting the Durban side into an excellent position for qualification to the knockout stage. Amigo Memela once again was the hero when his deflected strike gave AmaZulu a lead they would never relinquish and six points from three games. Sétif have work to do now that they sit in third place with only three points.
It was nearly a disastrous start for the visitors from Algeria when right off the kick off, Zambian forward Augustine Mulenga got behind the Sétif defense and rounded goalkeeper Zakaria Bouhalfaya before tapping his finish wide. After the immediate scare, Sétif were able to settle in a bit and chances became hard to come by.
AmaZulu, a team that continues to lack in the goal scoring department, began to dominate for stretches and in the 42nd minute they found their crucial breakthrough. A buildup from the left wing led to Philani Zulu sliding a pass into the middle for Memela, who had room to launch a strike from just over 20 yards out. The shot was not particularly well struck, but took a slight deflection off the back of Sétif center back Hicham Belkaroui that made all the difference as the ball bounced beyond Bouhalfaya for the opener.
The South African club specializes in sitting on narrow leads, and the hosts did well to limit Sétif to hopeful efforts that did not threaten AmaZulu keeper Veli Mothwa too much. Even when veteran playmaker Abdelmounene Djabou did excellently to get back two AmaZulu defenders and lay his pass into the path of an open Ahmed Kendouci, center back Tapelo Xoki came up with a lunging tackle that deflected Kendouci’s shot for an easy Mothwa save. Sétif remained frustrated throughout the second half and AmaZulu emerged with another important home victory.
Highlights are below.