Durban – AmaZulu super-substitutes Bongi Ntuli and Andre de Jong combined well deep into the second half to earn their side a 1-1 draw against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium, a game in which both teams were reduced to ten men.
Kaizer Chiefs opened the scoring in the 20th minute after Keagan Buchanan suffered the misfortune of turning the ball into his own net following a cross from Chiefs’ Keagan Dolly.
AmaZulu went on to equalise in the 77th minute as Ntuli used his lethal finishing ability to successfully turn in a cross which was sent into his path by New Zealand international de Jong.
Possession was evenly distributed in the first half with Chiefs starting with a fast tempo as they did in their previous game against Maritzburg United. It was Chiefs who were more confident in possession and in defence even though they did not have a shot on target in the first half.
While AmaZulu were stringing confident passes together, they struggled to get sufficient numbers into the opposition box to create good opportunities for themselves.
Benni McCarthy’s side did get their first decent opportunity of the game in the 16th minute as Augustine Mulenga opted to shoot from an acute angle, forcing an alert low save from Daniel Akpeyi in goal for Chiefs.
Chiefs right-back Reeve Frosler was dealt bad luck after 20 minutes as he looked to be in serious pain and had to be withdrawn early before being replaced by Ramahlwe Mphahlele.
AmaZulu showed their intent for more attacking urgency ahead of the second half as they brought on key striker Bongi Ntuli for Sphesihle Maduna. Usuthu’s inability to push men forward once again surfaced in the 58th minute as Siyethemba Sithebe launched a powerful shot from range which Daniel Akpeyi parried and no AmaZulu player was in the area to follow up.
Chiefs’ Cole Alexander became the first player in the game to see red after 60 minutes as he received his second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Thabo Qalinge.
A minute later, Usuthu keeper Veli Mothwa was forced into action for the first time in the game as he was forced to save from a close-range Keagan Dolly shot after the attacker was played in by Kgaogelo Sekgota.
A minute after AmaZulu scored, de Jong nearly went from assist maker to scorer as he found himself on the end of a cross and shot towards goal but Akpeyi saved with his body.
Both teams were reduced to ten men after 85 minutes as Samkelo Mgwazela got his second booking on the night for a challenge on Lebogang Manyama.
There is no doubt that Chiefs will be the more frustrated out of the two sides following the result. Amakhosi will feel that they could have won the game had they not had to restructure after Alexander’s red card. The result also ended a sequence of two successive league wins for the Soweto giants.
While AmaZulu can take positives from the game, it saw their erratic league form this season continue as the Durban-based side have now played out to three draws in their last four league games.
Both teams will next be in action on Sunday afternoon. Kaizer Chiefs travel to Dobsonville to play against Swallows in a Soweto derby while AmaZulu travel to the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg to play against Kwa-Zulu Natal rivals Maritzburg United.