AmaZulu’s winless run in the DStv Premiership continued as they played out to a 2-2 draw with city rivals Golden Arrows in a thrilling classical Durban derby at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont.
In the day’s other game, French striker Amadou Soukouna scored in stoppage time as Maritzburg United beat Marumo Gallants 1-0 to surge up the table into the top eight for the first time this season.
While Benni McCarthy will be frustrated by his side’s winless run, he can at least take some heart from the fact that his side did score their first goals of the league season in the game which was even in terms of the flow of play.
Xola Mlambo gave AmaZulu the lead in the 24th minute. Siphesihle Maduna floated in a corner before Mlambo made no mistake in finding the back of the net from close range.
Abafana Bes’thenda were handed a penalty by referee Victor Gomes just six minutes later after Usuthu veteran Tsepo Masilela handed the ball in the area after a cross by Mthokozisi Dube. Arrows stalwart Knox Mutizwa stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake as he sent Veli Mothwa the wrong way.
Arrows were handed a second penalty near the half-time break as Luyuvo Memela stepped on the foot of Nkosinathi Sibisi. It was not to be second time lucky for Mutizwa as his spot-kick struck the post this time. Pule Mmodi struck the rebound which forced a save from Mothwa before the Usuthu defence cleared the danger.
Arrows started the second half in dominating fashion as they had significantly more sustained passages of play and better pass execution.
However, Abafana Bes’thende were lucky to have not conceded in the 60th minute as Maduna fired in a free-kick which forced a finger-tip save from Sifiso Mlungwana onto the post.
Fifteen minutes later Maduna had another opportunity from a free-kick in goalscoring range but he ended up fluffing on that occasion.
Matome Mathiane gave Arrows the lead in the 77th minute with a looping header from a corner, giving Mothwa no chance of saving but Usuthu equalized just two minutes later after Sibisi was judged to have brought down Maduna in the area.
Bongi Ntuli stepped up from the spot for AmaZulu and notched his first league goal of the season.
Both sides did attack in the dying minutes of the game but a draw was a fair result in the end.
AmaZulu will next be in action against Baroka FC at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday while Arrows travel to Johannesburg to play against Sekhukhune United at Ellis Park on the same day.