With Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter serving a two-match touchline ban, assistant coach Khumalo was at the helm on the night when his side ended the match with 10 players after goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was carded twice in quick succession some eight minutes ahead of full time.
Referee Phillip Tinyani yellow-carded Khune for time-wasting in the 82nd minute and that sparked a bad-tempered protest from the goalkeeper who was then sent off with a red card in the 85th minute.
With Chiefs reduced to 10 players, reserve goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse replaced Khune between the sticks, and George Lebese was sacrificed in midfield.
Tinyani’s card issuing in the match did not end there as Chiefs’ Matthew Rusike (85th min), AmaZulu’s Robyn Johannes (86) and Chiefs’ Tefu Mashamaite (88) were all subsequently yellow-carded.
The plethora of cards did not detract from the players’ resolve to score in the closing stages and though both sets of defences looked vulnerable the attackers were not equal to the task, and Chiefs’ slender 1-0 lead translated to a 1-0 victory.
Earlier in the first half, AmaZulu’s Mbulelo Mabizela, Sadate Ouro-Akoriko, Tapelo Nyongo, John Arwuah and Sifiso Hlanti were all yellow-card recipients.
The first-half possession was shared but the AmaKhosi always looked the more threatening. Chiefs’ defender Tsepo Masilela fired the best of the early attempts to score but his parting shot from range rolled wide of the posts in the 13th minute.
Five minutes later, however, Chiefs midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala initiated a raid deep into the Usuthu half and striker Bernard Parker rounded off with an 18th minute scoring shot as he punished the defence for losing their markers in front of goal (1-0).
Another Chiefs attack fairly soon afterwards, looked promising until Lebese opted for a long-range effort which flew fractionally wide the posts.
AmaZulu, on the other hand, did not have many chances to hit the target because the Chiefs defence was fairly tight but a low drive from outside the penalty area from Thabiso Dlamini marked Usuthu’s best first-half attempt.
Chiefs now top the log with 57 points, followed by closest rivals Mamelodi Sundowns on 47 points.
Original source: Just the right tonic for Chiefs