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AmaZulu’s McCarthy rates Mulenga's finish as worthy of Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar or Mbappe

5:02 AM EST 12/21/21
Augustine Mulenga of AmaZulu.
The former Bafana Bafana striker praised the 31-year-old striker after he came off the bench to end Masandawana’s 17-match unbeaten run

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy believes striker Augustine Mulenga is on level terms with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after he came off the bench to end Mamelodi Sundowns unbeaten run in the PSL on Monday.

The 31-year-old Zambia international scored in the 75th minute to hand Usuthu a dramatic 1-0 win against the Brazilians at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium.

Mulenga, who came in for Bongi Ntuli, scored moments after stepping onto the pitch, latching onto a through ball from Luvuyo Memela before calmly slotting it past the advancing Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

McCarthy has sung the praise of Mulenga and Ntuli saying the two played a key role to end Sundowns’ 17-match unbeaten run.

“Ntuli was exceptional with his hold-up play, he gave us depth,” the former Bafana Bafana striker told the media after the game. "He really held the ball up nicely and waited for support. We found a lot of joy with Ntuli with the game that he was having.

“Once we saw that he had his run his race – and he was superb for the team – we thought the change was imminent and that it was better to go for someone with speed and trickery because their defenders were really tired."

‘We knew the pace Mulenga can provide’

“Ntuli really dragged them all over the pitch and he was a handful, so by the time Mulenga came in, the game was very open because Sundowns were pushing for that all-important goal.

“We knew that with the pace Mulenga can provide, he can get in and if he gets into a sprint race with [Ricardo] Nascimento or [Rushine] De Reuck, he might be able to have fresher legs and use the speed that he has.

“Then [Thabo] Qalinge made a fantastic run, dragging De Reuck out with him wide, which opened the middle, and Memela played the perfect pass into Mulenga, and as I said, fresher legs, speed...

“The finish was just unbelievable. I think if [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Kylian] Mbappe, or Neymar finishes that, people will talk about it.

“It was a well-worked goal and worthy for us to go into the lead because I think we created and we had the better moments in the game up until that point.”