AmaZulu picked up a vital three points with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the University of Pretoria at King Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The two sides had an even share of possession throughout the contest, but it was the hosts who created more goalscoring chances, Marc Van Heerden's 79th-minute penalty proving enough to claim victory.
Usuthu started brightly, with a Kagiso Senamela free kick from 18 yards saved brilliantly by goalkeeper Washington Arubi before Ayanda Dlamini saw his close-range effort blocked by Tebogo Monyai.
AmaTuks struck back with two chances of their own just a few minutes later, but shots from Ronald Ketjijere and Mame Niang both flew over the bar.
AmaZulu's Celani Vilane fired wide of the right-hand upright just moments later, while at the other end of the pitch, Ayanda Lubelo's lobbed shot from 20 yards was caught by Philani Zikalala.
However, from that point on it was all AmaZulu, with Kulegani Madondo in particular causing Arubi all sorts of the problems in the University of Pretoria goal.
Van Heerden fired a 36th-minute free kick wide of the right-hand post, while team-mate Dlamini also failed to test Arubi two minutes later with a shot from the right channel.
A rare chance arrived for the visitors on 41 minutes, but Mame Niang was unable to direct his header from 12 yards on target.
And it was much the same story after the half-time break as Amaqhawe created chance after chance, while Tuks struggled to impose themselves on proceedings.
Van Heerden showed a glimpse of what was to come when he hit the bar with a free kick from 25 yards in the 54th minute, Dlamini's shot from the rebound blocked by Mpho Matsi.
Arubi pulled off another brilliant save a few minutes later, denying Dlamini's left-footed shot from just six yards out, while Ketjijere squandered a rare chance for Tukkies shortly thereafter.
However, the home side finally got the breakthrough they were looking for on 78 minutes when Dennis Kaibe was adjudged to have fouled Goodman Dlamini in the area, Van Heerden smashing home from the resulting spot kick to break the deadlock.
University of Pretoria had a good chance to snatch a draw late on, but Niang fired over the bar with a right-footed shot from centre of penalty area.
The result moves AmaZulu three points clear of bottom-of-the-table Sundowns, while Tuks find themselves in fifth place - six points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs.