Durban – Goals by Ayanda Gcaba and Carlington Nyadombo ensured that AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates settle for a 1-1 draw in their Premiership encounter in Durban on Thursday evening.
Gcaba had given the visitors a 56th minute lead, before Nyadombo replied after 67 minutes forcing the sides to settle for a share of the spoils in what was an entertaining contest at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The hosts stayed seventh with the result and the Buccaneers climbed up to ninth on the log table.
It was one-way traffic at the start as Pirates came up guns blazing with four excellent chances in the opening 15 minutes. Captain Lucky Lekgwathi planted a header wide after goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe made a complete hash of trying to gather a Khethowakhe Masuku corner from the left, before Kermit Erasmus squared brilliantly for Andile Jali, who ballooned over from 14 yards out.
Masuku then fizzed a 25-yard effort wide of the upright, while another glorious chance went begging when Thandani Ntshumayelo tamely looped a header over the crossbar after another expert delivery from Erasmus on the left.
Usuthu finally had their first sight of goal after Goodman Dlamini broke down the left only to shoot straight at Senzo Meyiwa at the near post.
That moment appeared to lift the hosts as they came more into the game, but it was the Buccaneers who wasted another gilt-edge chance before the interval when Thabo Matlaba sent over a cross from the left that was struck straight at Mathibe by the unmarked Masuku.
After the break, Masuku forced Mathibe to tip over a driving effort from the left, before the visitors went ahead just short of the hour mark when Gcaba rose highest to nod in a Aubrey Ngoma corner Ä the goal coming just after Tamsanqa Teyise had left the field for treatment.
Eleven minutes later the home side were level as a Marc van Heerden's free-kick was headed in by Zimbabwean Nyadombo.
At the other end, Pirates tried to up the tempo, but were twice thwarted by a flying Mathibe, while a slick move between Matlaba and Ngoma resulted in the former stabbing wide after blistering run and cut-back by the latter.
With time running out Mathibe denied Happy Jele at the near post as Usuthu clung on for a point. – Sapa