AmaZulu FC fought back to hold Horoya AC to a 1-1 draw in their final CAF Champions League Group B match at the General Lansana Conté Stadium in Conakry on Friday evening.
The result saw Usuthu finish their group stage campaign in third place and they will now take on Baroka FC in the DStv Premiership match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on April 6.
HAC looked to grab an early goal in the opening exchanges with their Dramane Nikiema looking lively having become a constant threat to Usuthu’s defence.
Nikiema should have handed the hosts the lead when Boniface Haba’s low cross found him unmarked inside AmaZulu’s box, but somehow the 33-year-old miscued the ball.
However, Nikiema made amends on the stroke of half-time when scored with a curling shot from outside the visitors’ box – beating goalkeeper Jean-Noel Amonome and Horoya were leading 1-0 at the interval.
Usuthu pressed the HAC defence after the restart and their early pressure paid off as parity was restored seven minutes into the second-half.
Thabo Qalinge’s low cross from the right was deflected into the back of the net by Salif Coulibaly, who netted an own goal to make it 1-1 with keeper Moussa Camara well-beaten.
It was then end-to-end stuff as both teams launched attacks in search of more goals and Qalinge, who was able to get himself into goalscoring positions, had two great chances to score.
However, the former Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder was fantastically denied by Moussa Camara, who produced a double save to deny Qalinge from close range
The last chance of the game fell for Sandile Khumalo in stoppage time, but the unmarked defender failed to keep his header on target from Qalinge’s corner-kick and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Horoya (1) 1 (Nikiema 45′)
AmaZulu (0) 1 (Coulibaly 48′)
Horoya: M. Camara, Coulibaly, Diaw, Samake, Doumbouya, I.Camara (Coumbassa 76′), Nikiema, F.Camara (Kante 46′), Haba (Soumah 76′), Mandela (Ndiaye 46′).
AmaZulu: Amonome, Gumede (Sikhakhane 75′), Zulu, Khumalo, Xoki, Malepe, Mlambo (Makhaula 66′), Qalinge, Moremi (Majoro 54′), Maduna (Ekstein 66′), Ntuli (Kunene 75′).