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Durban - AmaZulu climbed off the bottom of the Premiership table, despite being held to a goalless draw against SuperSport United in Umlazi, outside Durban, on Wednesday.
Both sides struck the woodwork in the second half of a high-tempo game, in which poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Usuthu keeper Tapuwa Kapini played key roles in the scoreline.
The draw was a 12th for Matsatsantsa this season and saw them remain in 10th place on the log, while AmaZulu moved into 15th place, above Chippa United who lost to Wits.
The match had started out sluggishly on a chilly night on the east coast, with the visitors creating the first chance after nine minutes.
It came when an error by centre back Carlington Nyadombo allowed Sameegh Doutie to capitalise and shoot, with his strike excellently blocked by Kapini diving to his right, before the rebound was fired tamely and rather wastefully straight at the keeper by Simbarashe Sithole.
The hosts had their first opening 10 minutes later when Njabulo Manqana lined up a free-kick from the edge of the area, but the execution was poor as the ball flew high into the stands.
AmaZulu then had a strong penalty case turned down when Franklin Cale appeared to haul down Ayanda Dlamini in the box - the referee Jerome Damon booking the striker for simulation.
At the other end, Doutie’s free-kick was accurate but lacked power, allowing Kapini to scoop up easily.
Craig Rosslee’s men still looked dangerous going forward, and after Thokozani Mshengu escaped down the right, the winger’s cross-shot was punched away by the alert Ronwen Williams.
And moments before the break, Edwin Gyimah managed to find space on the right side of the box, before his angled shot was blocked low by Kapini.
Straight after the restart, Andile Khumalo broke through the middle and won a free-kick on the edge of the box, with Tamsanqa Teyise drilling a low shot onto the base of the left upright.
But as soon as the ball went down the other end, Sithole crossed accurately to the near post where Bradley Grobler wastefully headed wide.
The opportunities were coming thick and fast at that stage and Cale had another when he collected on the left before shooting low, with Kapini forced to make a low save to keep the score at 0-0.
Usuthu then broke forward nicely with Ayanda Dlamini drifting wide and cutting back for Goodman Dlamini, whose effort was poorly sliced wide.
AmaZulu captain Kapini was again called into action in the 68th minute when Sithole shook off his marker and forced away a shot that the goalkeeper had to tip away.
And with time running out, Cale smashed a free-kick against the crossbar as the game ended goalless. - Sapa