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AmaZulu held 0-0 by Gallants
AmaZulu were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Marumo Gallants in a rescheduled DStv Premiership match at the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
The teams originally attempted to play this game 24 hours earlier, but play was called off after just a few minutes due to a clash of kits which made it difficult for match officials to distinguish between the sets of outfield players. This time around Usuthu, despite being the home team, donned their all-white change strip to solve the issue.
The stalemate sees AmaZulu move up to ninth spot on the log on 11 points from nine matches, while Bahlabane ba Ntwa remain bottom of the standings on four points from eight winless outings – but at least claimed their first point on the road this season.
Gallants had the first effort on goal, with Thabo Mnyamane’s fifth-minute shot direct from a free kick forcing AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa into a sharp save to turn the ball around the post for a corner kick.
AmaZulu’s first threat arrived in the 12th minute when a corner kick had Washington Arubi all at sea, but Thapelo Xoki was not able to punish the Gallants goalkeeper with a header on target.
Marumo striker Sede Dion, who was one of two changes from the visitors’ previous starting line-up on Wednesday, nearly claimed a lucky goal midway through the first half, with his deflected cross from the right of the penalty area looping on target and forcing Mothwa into tipping the effort onto the crossbar.
The remainder of the first stanza saw no further notable chances at either end, with play mostly focused in a congested midfield battle in which neither team was able to assert dominance, leaving the game goalless at the interval.
Usuthu had a good chance to break the deadlock in the opening minute after the restart, with a ball over the top of Gallants’ defence handing Sinethemba Sithebe a sight of goal, but his attempt to lob Arubi travelled just over the crossbar.
Just past the hour mark Bahlabane ba Ntwa made a double change in trying to spark their attack, with Lerato Lamola and Celimpilo Ngema rising off the bench, before AmaZulu responded with a triple substitution to bring on Lehlohonolo Majoro, Augustine Mulenga and Xola Mlambo.
The first substitute on either side to have a chance to change the game was Gallants Ngema, who had a clear sight of goal on 71 minutes, but his effort from the ‘D’ of the box was tame and easily held by Mothwa.
Another AmaZulu sub, Sphesihle Maduna, then glanced a header on target from a corner kick in the 80th minute, but Arubi punched the ball clear to keep the score line blank.
At the other end, four minutes later, Mnyamane clipped the crossbar with an in-swinging corner kick, though Mothwa appeared to have the ball covered.
The final few minutes saw an up-tick in energy from both teams, as they sought a late winner, but ultimately the match ended 0-0.
The teams will be back in DStv Premiership action this weekend, with AmaZulu at home to Cape Town City and Gallants hosting Mamelodi Sundowns, both on the evening of Sunday 7 November.
Marumo Gallants 0
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Khumalo (Mgwazela 77’), Xoki, Zulu (Majoro 64’), Ekstein (Maduna 77’), Makhaula, Sithebe, Malepe, De Jong (Mlambo 65’), Ntuli (Mulenga 65’)
Gallants: Arubi, Mvelase, Nhlapo, Nonyane, Mabotja, Timm, Mnyamane, Ndlondlo (Ngema 62’), Kumalo, Koapeng (Lamola 62’), Dion (Otladisa 84’)