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Cape Town – Basement sides Chippa United and AmaZulu shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw in their Premiership clash in Cape Town on Saturday.
On a blistering hot day, the game got off to a relatively pedestrian start, with AmaZulu happy to play the ball around at the back, while the home side's only chances came from range and failed to bother Tapuwa Kapini.
Usuthu rarely ventured into their opponents' half, and it was from virtually their first attack that the visitors took the lead, with some neat interplay in the Chippa box leading to a fairly simple finish for Andile Khumalo after 15 minutes.
Following the goal, there was little to suggest that the Chilli Boys would restore parity.
With Welcome Qalanto playing as a lone striker, supported by midfielder Cole Alexander, the Cape side were unable to sustain any pressure close to the Usuthu box, and the hosts had to resort to shots from range.
Left back Tshepo Tomanyane tested Kapini when his swerving effort from range nearly caught the AmaZulu goalminder off guard, with Kapini doing well to readjust and tip the ball over the bar.
The home side had the first chance after the restart when a hopeful ball into the box fell to Alexander, but somehow Kapini extended his arm sufficiently to steal the ball off the Chippa player's feet.
But the Chilli Boys came to life in the second half, showing much more urgency, and they bagged a deserved equaliser five minutes after the restart when Mkhanyseli Siwahla squared the ball for Qalanto for a straightforward shot from 10 metres out.
With the home side coming to life, their supporters also found their voices in the stands, transforming the atmosphere from one of gloom to one of hopeful anticipation for a second goal.
The next chance, however, was to arrive at the other end as Khumalo beat Daudoa Kassally to the ball, only to head over the bar.
At the other end, Kapini was again on top of his game as he saved from Qalanto, the striker having done well to make space for the shot.
Siwahla should have put Chippa ahead with 20 minutes to go, but he skewed his shot wide after latching onto a rebound from close range.
There were half chances at either end in the closing stages. Chippa came close through Diego Brown's awkward cross, and Qalanto missed from a header, but there was no alteration to the scoreline. – Sapa