AmaZulu, Orlando Pirates miss the target in KZN stalemate
UMLAZI – It was another day of darkness for both AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates as they shared the spoils in a 0-0 stalemate in an epic Absa Premiership showdown at King Zwelithini Stadium on Tuesday night.
Usuthu are still winless in three league outings, having suffered two defeats in their opening two encounters against Polokwane City and Wits.
Pirates are also going through torrid times. The Sea Robbers haven’t tasted victory in their past four matches across all competitions.
Rhulani Mokwena is also yet to get off the mark after taking over the coaching reigns from Milutin Sredojevic, who vacated his position as the head coach of the club on Friday.
He got a baptism of fire in his debut match as the Buccaneers crashed out of the MTN8 at the expense of Highlands Park on Saturday.
On Tuesday night, Gabadinho Mhango fluffed a glorious opportunity to put Pirates in the lead after a fantastic work done by Vincent Pule on the right-hand side.
The Malawian fired his attempt over the bar.
Jabulani Ncobeni was the main culprit for Usuthu after he was dispossessed cheaply by Pule, who played a good cut-back to Mhango.
Usuthu were dealt a major blow before the start of the match as their No 1 goal-minder, Siyabonga Mbatha, sustained an injury during the warm-up.
He was replaced by Niel Boshoff, who was on his Premier Soccer League debut.
Siphesihle Ndlovu also made his debut for the Buccaneers.
The game was played at a frenetic pace. The Sea Robbers dominated the first 30 minutes and created better goal-scoring opportunities.
Xola Mlambo tested Boshoff from distance following a good passage of play in the middle of the park, and the newcomer was up to the task as he kept Pirates at bay.
Mhango was menacing for Usuthu. The former Wits talisman was denied by the post 20 minutes into the game, when he profited from a quality delivery by Ndlovu.
He was wasteful again on the half-hour mark after he tormented the AmaZulu defence with his pace and trickery. Poor execution let him down as his shot sailed wide.
Usuthu were also kept at bay by the framework. Siyethemba Sithebe unleashed a thunderbolt from distance, but the post came to Wayne Sandilands’ rescue as he was well beaten.
Mokwena sacrificed Pule in the second half, with Tshegofatso Mabasa coming on.
⚫️⚪️🔴⭐️— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) August 20, 2019
FT | @AmaZuluFootball 0-0 @orlandopirates.
The 3pts elude the Bucs who had to respond in stemming their losing tide. Honours even in KZN, a 1st clean sheet in 4 games & something positive to build on.
☠️🛡☠️🛡☠️#OnceAlways #AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/ediAGBQ3z5
The interim boss Mokwena was going all out for the maximum points as he played with three forwards (Mhango, Thembinkosi Lorch and Mabasa).
Andre de Jongh almost produced a moment of magic in the 77th minute, but Sandilands was at his best as he made ferocious save to deny the New Zealand international his maiden strike in South Africa.
Usuthu were the better side in the second half, but couldn’t turn their chances into goals.@Minenhlecr7