UMLAZI - AmaZulu and Maritzburg United shared the spoils in a KwaZulu-Natal derby that lacked the spark on Tuesday night at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. The Absa Premiership showdown that was expected to fire ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Usuthu were desperately in need of the maximum points, having been docked six points for breaching the Fifa rules. AmaZulu are languishing at the basement of the log with two points after seven league outings.
AmaZulu coach, Cavin Johnson, made six changes for the match. Moeneeb Josephs, Butholezwe Ncube, Sibusiso Mabiliso, Thapelo Nyongo, Ramphele and Jabulani Ncobeni all dropped to the bench while Siyabonga Mbatha, Samuel Darpoh, Marc Van Heerden, Sadat Akoriko, Emiliano Tade and Ovidy Karuru made way for them. His counterpart made only one change. Siphelele Ndlovu was back in to the starting line up in the place of Andrea Fileccia.
The first opportunity in the match fell on the path of Bongi Ntuli but his execution let him down. Usuthu were let off the hook following a some neat exchanges between Yannick Zakri and Keletso Makgwala but Thembela Sikhakhane made an important goal clearance to keep the Team of Choice at bay and denied the former Mamelodi Sundowns and Ajax Cape Town talisman his maiden goal for his new club. From the clearance the ball dropped to Makgwala who ballooned his shot over the bar.
The KZN derby didn't live up to the expectations in the first stanza as both sides failed to create meaningful chances. Mbatha pulled off a fantastic save to deny Justice Figuaredo who showed composure and calmness to find the target. Figauredo made way for Makgwala who was on a yellow straight after the interval. Both teams lost the possession easily.
Figauredo made an instant impact. He came close to breaking the deadlock with a well struck shot 70 minutes in to the match, but Akoriko did well to block the shot from going on target.
The Team of Choice kept the fourth clean sheet on the trot. They will now welcome the MTN8 champions, Cape Town City, at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday at 8pm. AmaZulu will now face Orlando Pirates in Umlazi on Saturday at 8.15pm.
Post match press conference. pic.twitter.com/Q3FWwhqyE9