AmaZulu FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Kaizer Chiefs in an MTN8 semi-final first-leg match at the FNB Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The teams will now meet in the second-leg encounter in Durban on October 23 and Usuthu are scheduled to battle it out with their KwaZulu-Natal rivals, Richards Bay in a DStv Premiership encounter on Wednesday.
Usuthu got off to a good start with goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune forced to make a double save – denying Dumisani Zuma, before blocking an attempt from Mbongeni Gumede. However, Khune was beaten in the 14th minute when Makhehlene Makhaula’s long pass found Frank Mhango who controled the ball before scoring with a low strike to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu.
Chiefs responded by exerting pressure on the visitors and keeper Veli Mothwa produced three fine saves to deny Ashley du Preez, Yusuf Maart, and Sifiso Hlanti. The hosts should have leveled matters when Du Preez was sent through on goal, but the Bafana Bafana striker was superbly denied by Mothwa and he fired over from the rebound, and the score was 1-0 to AmaZulu at half-time.
The momentum was with Amakhosi after the restart as they searched for the equalizing goal and Usuthu were reduced to 10 players when Veluyeke Zulu was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the game. The hosts then took advantage of their numerical superiority over the visitors when substitute Keagan Dolly fired home Dillan Solomons’ cross to make it 1-1 in the 61st minute.
Chiefs then pushed for the winning goal, but they were frustrated by AmaZulu’s resolute defence and the hosts were limited to long-range shots. Maart’s fierce shot from range was well saved by Mothwa who ensured that the game ended in a 1-1 draw with Mhango and George Matlou being shown straight red cards for off-the-field incidents.
Chiefs (0) 1 (Dolly 61′)
AmaZulu (1) 1 (Mhango 14′)
Chiefs: Khune, Solomons (Frosler 82′), Dove, Kwinika, Hlanti, Blom, Maart, Sithebe (Dolly 46′), Du Preez (Nk Ngcobo 74′), Sekgota, Bimenyimana.
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Hanamub, Zulu, Khumalo (Mukumela 87′), Mobara, Makhaula, Buchanan, Maluleka (Majoro 68′), Mhango (Bwalya 69′), Zuma (Mphahlele 58′).