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Usuthu collect point at Royal to boost top four hopes
AmaZulu FC extended their unbeaten run to four matches in the DStv Premiership when they drew 0-0 with Royal AM at the Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
As a result, Usuthu remained seventh on the league standings – three points behind fourth-placed Kaizer Chiefs. Coach Brandon Truter’s side will now take on Swallows FC in Soweto on May 3.
The first half of the KwaZulu-Natal Derby was very cagey with the two teams creating few goalscoring opportunities and the goalkeepers Hugo Nyame, and Veli Mothwa were not seriously tested.
Mxolisi Machupu did well to set-up Ndumiso Mabena inside the Usuthu’s box, but the former Orlando Pirates centre forward’s shot which was heading wide of the target was blocked by Abbubaker Mobara and the ball was then cleared away by the visitors’ defence.
Thwihli Thwahla were under pressure as the half-time break approached with Xola Mlambo playing a looping pass which sent Andre De Jong through on goal. However, Thabo Matlaba made an excellent recovery to deny the New Zealand international a chance to shoot at goal.
The last goalscoring opportunity of the first half fell for Mlambo inside Royal’s box, but the former Chippa United creative midfielder’s overhead kick went wide of the target without troubling Nyame and the score was 0-0 during the half-time break in Durban.
Thwihli Thwahla created the better chances after the restart with Machupu impressing with his link-up play as the targetman. The lanky forward played a defence-splitting pass for Mokete Mogaila, who placed his effort wide of the target with only Mothwa to beat from inside AmaZulu’s box.
Royal should have taken a 1-0 lead when Victor Letsoalo collected the ball from Machupu on the edge of the Usuthu. The Bafana Bafana international then burst into the area and he chipped the ball over on-rushing Mothwa, but it went wide of the target.
The hosts continued to apply pressure on the AmaZulu defence and they were awarded an indirect free-kick in the visitors’ box after eventual Man of the Match Mobara had blocked Letsoalo’s goal-bound shot. Mfundo Thiikazi stepped up and the substitute’s effort from the set-piece was blocked.
Usuthu did have a rare chance towards the end of the match, but Nyame came out to block Luvuyo Memela’s attempt from close range. Ultimately, the KwaZulu-Natal Derby ended in a 0-0 draw just like it did in the first round league encounter in December last year.
Royal: Nyame, Mogaila, Matlaba, Rikhotso, Mabuza, Manganyi, Msomi (Ncobeni 82′), Mahlasela, Macuphu (George 88′), Mabena (Thikazi 68′), Letsoalo (Maxwele 88′).
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Zulu, Xoki, Mobara, Malepe, Makhaula, Mlambo (Gumede 68′), Memela (Buchanan 85′), Kunene (Maduna 57′), De Jong (Mthembu 68′).