Siyethemba Sithebe of AmaZulu is tackled by Nkosinathi Sibisi of Golden Arrows during their Absa Premiership encounter at the Suger Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Sunday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN – A feisty league encounter between Golden Arrows and AmaZulu at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Sunday afternoon ended in a 1-1 draw.

Both goals came in the early stages of the game, as AmaZulu skipper Sadat Ouro-Akoriko's 12th minute opener was cancelled out by Zimbabwean international Divine Lunga six minutes later.

The result means Cavin Johnson's Usuthu side remain in potential relegation trouble – just three points above the drop zone.

Befitting of a local derby, the action was fast and furious as the tackles flew in from both sets of players.

It didn't take long for the first goal to arrive as former Arrows defender Ouro-Akoriko came steaming into the box to power in a header following a corner kick from Siyethemba Sithebe.

The lead was, however, short-lived as Abafana bes'Thende levelled up the game soon after when Lunga bundled the ball into the net from close range after Richard Matloga had thumped a free kick from the most acute of angles against the crossbar.

Arrows, the home club, should have scored again 10 minutes later when some sloppy defending from AmaZulu resulted in Sibusiso Sibeko getting into a great position to score, but from around the penalty spot, he blazed his shot over.

While the match retained its breakneck speed and made for absorbing viewing, there was not much more in the way of scoring chances in the first half, apart from an effort from a tight angle 10 minutes before the interval by Usuthu striker Bongi Ntuli, which was skewed wide.

Both teams were to have good opportunities shortly after the restart, but there was no change to the scoreboard as Michael Morton fizzed a volley just over goal before Siyabonga Dube struck the upright with a shot from wide out on the right.

With the game on a knife-edge, AmaZulu had what appeared to be a lucky escape with 20 minutes to go after Ouro-Akoriko seemingly shoved Lerato Lamola to the ground inside the box. At the other end, Ntuli did well to make space for a shot but fired straight at Arrows keeper Maximilian Mbaeva.

Both sides pushed for a winner in the closing 15 minutes, but apart from a couple of half chances, another goal never really looked likely to come.

African News Agency (ANA)