THEY hardly had a shot at goal all night, but AmaZulu returned to Durban with a precious point after a 0-0 Absa Premiership draw with Orlando Pirates, who simply could not convert their chances.
Ironically, AmaZulu’s brightest period in front of goal was in referee’s optional time when they had two chances in quick succession.
Other than that the visitors were outplayed and rarely tested Bucs goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs.
The first half could be summed up as one of missed opportunities for Pirates. The home side enjoyed more of the ball possession and had AmaZulu on the ropes on a few occasions.
With both teams flying into the tackles, it was no surprise to see an early yellow card when AmaZulu forward Stanton Lewis was booked for general being over zealous.
Pirates winger Sameehg Doutie followed shortly after when he was booked for putting the ball in the back of the net after the match official had blown for offside.
The decision was wrong, however, as Doutie had clearly beaten the offside trap. Pirates should have been 1-0 ahead.
Despite Bucs’ dominance, Usuthu showed their intent on the counter attack with Lewis, Ayanda Dlamini and Sibusiso Hadebe looking to break quickly when given the opportunity, but nobody from the KZN side was able to test Josephs in the opening stanza.
In the 22nd minute Bucs skipper Lucky Lekgwathi’s headed goal was ruled out for an infringement on the goalkeeper, which looked like the correct call.
Then, in the 32nd minute Andile Jali unleashed a stinging drive from distance which had the beating of Mbongeni Mzimela, only to thunder off the goalkeeper’s crossbar.
Three minutes into the second half Klate delivered a juicy deep cross, which Sangweni got to at the far post and did well to head the ball back across goal. But no Bucs player could read the play and get on the end of the loose ball.
In the 55th minute, Thulasizwe Mbuyane couldn’t keep his header down from a good position after he got onto the end of Klate’s cross. A good opportunity missed.
Pirates came close again in the 64th minute when Klate’s free kick took a wicked deflection, but somehow Mzimela managed to deal with the danger.
With just under fifteen minutes to go, Mbuayne was guilty of missing a very good chance. Klate beat his man on the left and whipped in an inviting cross, but Mbuyane, although he did well to dive towards the ball, the direction was totally off and will go down as a bad miss.
Kagiso Senamela comes close in referee’s optional time, against the run of play, when his attempt just flew over the bar.
Senamela made his return to AmaZulu as a second half substitute while Stanley Kgatla made his Usuthu debut, also as a second half replacement. Both players signed as free agents after Platinum Stars had released them. Teams:
Pirates: Josephs – Jele, S Sangweni, Lekgwathi, Cloete – Doutie (McCarthy 66’), Jali, Manyisa, Klate – Chansa (Mabena 71’) – Mbuyane (Bester 85’)
AmaZulu: Mzimela – Teyise, Bukasa Kasonga, Nyadombo, Van Heerden – Shipahu (Chavula 61’), T Sangweni (Kgatla 80’), Zhuwawo, Hadebe – A Dlamini, Lewis (Senamela 61’)
Elsewhere Mamelodi Sundowns managed one point away when they held Golden Arrows to a 1-1 draw with Platinum Stars crushing Santos 4-1 while Jomo Cosmos played 1-1 draw away to Ajax Cape Town-Backpagepix