19 July 2013
Premier Soccer League club AmaZulu handed English giants Manchester City the second loss of their tour of South Africa when they beat the Sky Blues 2-1 in a Nelson Mandela Football Invitational match at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Thursday.
City were under the guidance of Brian Kidd after new manager Manuel Pellegrini departed for Chile. Kidd said it was for personal reasons.
They showed their support for former President Mandela by wearing shirts with the name Mandela and the number 95 on the back before the start of the contest.
‘Privilege and honour’
“I think for Manchester City it’s a great privilege and honour to be invited to play on Mr Mandela’s birthday,” Kidd told the Manchester City website after the game.
“I was lucky to be out here in ’93 and to have met him. I’ve met him twice. He’s a wonderful man, who has fought for the freedom of the people of South Africa. You can’t say enough,” Kidd said.
“He’s a world icon and as I say from our club’s point of view we’re very privileged to take part in his 95th birthday celebrations.
“It has been wonderful. The people have been very warm to us and we’ve been well received.”
On the subject of the game itself, Kidd said: “I thought it was a very, very good workout again for the fitness levels. The boys have worked really hard. It was a really good workout. It’s just what we wanted.”
South African football
Questioned about the standard of football in South Africa, Kidd was very complimentary, saying: “It’s very good. I’ve been around South Africa many times and it’s a very good standard. Physically they’re tough and technically they’re very good.”
Manchester City put in a markedly improved performance over their first match and created an early chance when Samir Nasri tested Usuthu captain Tapuwa Kapini with a dipping shot from a free kick. Kapini was up to the challenge, diving to his right to knock the ball away.
AmaZulu, though, took the lead in the 20th minute after an error by left-back Aleksandar Kolorov, whose pass back to goalkeeper Joe Hart was intercepted by Bongani Ndulula, who rounded Hart before steering the ball into the net.
City were back on level terms shortly after that when Scott Sinclair picked out Yaya Toure with a header. The Ivory Coast star was off target with his header, but the ball fell kindly for James Milner, who blasted home from close range to make it 1- 1.
Nasri threatened again just before the half-hour mark, but Kapini pulled off a good save of a low shot to deny the French international.
Both teams made a number of changes at the break, which appeared to serve the English side better as they dominated play in the second half by attacking out wide.
In the 61st minute, Kolarov picked out Edin Dzeko with a pinpoint cross, but Aubrey Mathibe, on for Kapini, continued the fine work in the AmaZulu goal by pulling off an excellent save.
The game began to lose some of its structure, but with time running short City substitute Abdul Razak lost possession and in his effort to win it back brought down Mark van Heerden in the box. Just two minutes remained on the clock when the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Carlington Nyadombo was handed the responsibility of taking the spot kick. He fired the ball into the net beyond the reach of substitute goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon to give the Usuthu an encouraging 2-1 victory on Mandela Day.