Late Hendrick Ekstein strike propels AmaZulu to Nedbank Cup win

Late Hendrick Ekstein strike propels AmaZulu to Nedbank Cup win

In a Nedbank Cup clash, AmaZulu FC secured a 1-0 victory against Royal AM at King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium, advancing to the round of 16.

AmaZulu, eager to bounce back from their recent defeat to Cape Town Spurs, made strategic changes to their line-up, reintroducing Ethan Brooks, Mbongeni Gumede, Riaan Hanamub, and Tshepang Moremi. On the other side, Royal AM had to make an enforced change, with Siphesihle Msomi stepping in for the suspended Mzwandile Dlamini.

Under the guidance of coach Pablo Franco Martin, AmaZulu dominated the early proceedings, with chances created by Augustine Kwem and Moremi. However, Royal AM's defence held firm, denying the home team any breakthroughs.

As the first-half progressed, the tension escalated, and Ben Motshwari's powerful strike from the edge of the box was skilfully parried away by Royal AM's goalkeeper Hugo Nyame. 

Just before half-time, Taariq Fielies missed a crucial header for Royal AM, letting AmaZulu them off the hook.

The second half witnessed an open game, with AmaZulu continuing to apply pressure. Moremi found himself clear on goal but was fouled by the last defender, who received a yellow card. 

Despite the challenges, AmaZulu kept pushing forward, and with 20 minutes to go, coach Martin made a decisive double attacking substitution, bringing in Junior Dion and Hendrick Ekstein for Kwem and Moremi.

The breakthrough finally came in the last five minutes when Ekstein, with a clinical close-range finish, secured a 1-0 lead for AmaZulu. 

The goal proved to be the match-winner, propelling AmaZulu into the Nedbank Cup round of 16 in a hard-fought victory over Royal AM.

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