AmaZulu FC were held to a 1-1 draw by their KwaZulu-Natal rivals Richards Bay in a DStv Premiership match at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
As a result, Usuthu remained on the eighth spot on the league standings and they will be targeting nothing but a victory when they take on their KwaZulu-Natal rivals, Maritzburg United on February 3.
Salim Magoola was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening exchanges as Usuthu pushed for an early goal. The Ugandan star gathered Rally Bwalya’s deflected shot in the 17th minute and Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s flicked header three minutes later.
The Richards Bay shot-stopper was then beaten three minutes after the half-hour mark after some good work by the in-form Sere Junior Dion. The Ivorian centre forward striker set-up Thabo Qalinge who hit the back of the net to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu.
The Natal Rich Boys pushed for the equalising goal with the half-time break fast approaching, but the visitors’ whose defence was marshalled by the experienced Mphahlele stood firm and AmaZulu were leading 1-0 at half-time.
Qalinge was looking hungry for goals on the day and the former Orlando Pirates winger had an opportunity to grab his brace in the 54th minute. However, the man nicknamed Section 10 was denied by a well-positioned Magoola.
Co-head coaches Vasili Manousakis and Pitso Dladla decided to make changes in the 73rd minute and the hosts should have levelled matters a minute later. Somila Ntsundwana had the time and space score from close range, but he hit the crossbar.
The momentum was with Richards Bay in stoppage time and they snatched a late goal through captain fantastic Katlego Maphathe who netted with a powerful shot after Ntsundwana was denied by keeper Veli Mothwa and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Richards Bay (0) 1 (Qalinge 33′)
AmaZulu (1) 1 (Maphathe 90’+4)
Richards: Magoola, Maphathe, Msani, Mabua, Nyauza, Mabaso (Dyani 89′), Barns (Mtolo 73′), Mthembu, Ntsundwana, Memela (Mabuya 73′), Makateng (Mbuthuma 46′).
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Hanamub, Mphahlele (Zulu 53′), Mobara, Malepe, Bwalya, Ekstein (Buchanan 82′), Qalinge (Ndlovu 71′), Dion (Ntuli 83′), Zuma (Manziba 71′).