Photo: www.playfair.co.za

AB BASSON

AmaTuks beat mid-table hopefuls Sivutsa Stars with a 4-0 victory at the Absa Tuks Stadium on Sunday 22 April to stay at the top of the National First Division (NFD) log. AmaTuks brought their run of poor form to an end with a resounding victory over the men from Mbombela. AmaTuks came out all guns blazing and scored two goals in the first ten minutes. A defensive mistake by Sivutsa saw Esau Mtsweni steal the ball from the Sivutsa centre-back and fire a left footed shot into the corner past the helpless keeper in only the second minute of the encounter. Five minutes later it was 2-0 to the home team. After a good spell from Sivutsa, AmaTuks won the ball and after a quick counter and a delightful ball from Aubrey Ngoma, Thokozani Sekotlong curled the ball into the top right hand corner of the net from just outside the penalty area. The vibrant away support was not fazed by the early setback and kept their spirits high, knowing there was still a lot of time left in the encounter. With their fans behind them,Sivutsa nearly capitalised in the 16th minute after a miscommunication in the AmaTuks penalty area, but as was the case throughout the afternoon, the Sivusta strikers just could not find the goalpost. AmaTuks were happy to keep their lead intact, as coach Steve Barker clearly ordered the team to sit back and hit on the counter attack. In the 18th minute Tuks yet again had a quick break down the left but Ngoma’s pass failed to find an unmarked Mtseweni in the box. AmaTuks was finding a lot of space around the flanks and troubled the Sivutsas defenders all afternoon. Sivutsa ended off the first half as the stronger team with a few attacks at the AmaTuks goal, however they could not find the back of the net. Sivutsu made two substitutions before the start of the second half, clearly stating their intent to fight back. AmaTuks, though, started the half the brightest almost scoring straight after the kick-off. AmaTuks did make it 3-0 on the day in the 55th minute after a defensive blunder from the Sivutsu keeper. Mtsweni capitalised on the mistake and chested the ball into an open net, scoring his second goal. Tuks dominated and Sivutsu responded by making another substitution. The sub brought a bit of spark to the team as Sivutsu created their first chance of the half in the 59th minute. To their credit, AmaTuks defended well and captain Siya Mngoma was dominant in the AmaTuks goal. Keeno Shellar and Tebogo Monyai also had a good game at the back. With Sivutsu finding it troubling to break down AmaTuks’s stubborn defence and AmaTuks clearly in charge, Barker rang the changes. Chibuzor Nwogbo came on for Sekotlong who had an impressive game upfront. Nwogbo made an immediate impact on the game, scoring minutes after coming on. In the 75th minute after a beautifulone two with Ngoma, the striker headed past Nkosana Maseko. The Sivutsu keeper was easily beaten, with his defence not helping the cause; the goal made it 4-0 on the day. This capped off a stunning display from AmaTuks. AmaTuks’s quality upfront with players like Mtsweni, Sekotlong and Ngoma will trouble teams for the rest of the season as they push for the title. AmaTuks next face Vasco de Gama at the Belville Staduim on Saturday 28 April. It is crucial that AmaTuks carry this momentum into the next game, with only five games remaining in the season. Thanda Royal Zulu are a mere two points behind the league leaders, with the two teams set to meet in the last game of the season. A thrilling end can be expected as AmaTuks try to forget the disappointments of last season and gain promotion to the PSL.

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