Augustine Mulenga of Amazulu controls possession as Zoubir Motrani of ES Setif challenges during the CAF Champions League 202122 football match between ES Setif and Amazulu held at the 5 July Stadium in Algiers,

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy will have to work hard to achieve the side’s Caf Champions League goal after a 2-0 defeat by ES Setif on Saturday.

AmaZulu FC’s 2-0 defeat by ES Setif on Saturday night put a serious dent in the SA side’s hopes of reaching the quarterfinals of the Caf Champions League.

First-half goals from Riad Benayad and Akram Djahnit were enough for the Algerian team to put away Usuthu, who gave a sloppy performance at Stade de 5 Juillet in the North African country.

After a disappointing run in the DStv Premiership recently, Usuthu hoped their return to the continental stage would provide them with some joy as they had managed to win their previous two outings.

However, a silly error by Usuthu’s Matarr Ceesay in the middle of the park resulted in a Setif counterattack and a goal by Benayad on 11 minutes.

Instead of passing the ball to the nearest unmarked teammate, Ceesay kept the ball for too long with no proper plan and was dispossessed by Ahmed Kendouci who set up Benayad for the opener.

Setif would feel they should have at least scored three goals in the first half as they had quite a few chances, but they couldn’t beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa or they sent their goal attempts wide.

Mothwa denied Benayad a chance to complete his brace in the match when the keeper saved a close range shot after 24 minutes of play.

Usuthu had a golden opportunity to draw back level on the half-hour mark, but defender Thembela Sikhakhane couldn’t finish from a Keagan Buchanan free kick.

Poor marking from the SA side resulted in Djahnit beating Mothwa at close range to make it 2-0 for Setif on the halftime stroke.

In a bid to salvage the match, McCarthy brought in Bongi Ntuli and Andre de Jong for Sphelele Mthembu and Ceesay at the beginning of the second half.

However, that didn’t yield the desired result for Usuthu, instead it was the hosts who had better opportunities to score but failed to beat Mothwa a few times.

Because of the result, AmaZulu have dropped one place on the Group B log to third spot but level on six points with Setif.

To proceed to the next round, Usuthu will need to do well in their last two matches in the group stages to finish in the top two.