Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu's quest for a first victory in the season continued as they drew 1-1 in a Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Bongani Ndulula opened the scoring from the penalty spot for the visitors in the first half and Thabo Matlaba pulled one back for the hosts in the second.
Defender Rooi Mahamutsa fell for Ndulula's bait and fouled the striker inside the penalty box in the 37th minute.
The former Pirates man got the better of his former team-mates after displaying the pestering side of him in the opening quarter of the match.
Pirates unleashed a fiery attack on the brash opposition, with Kermit Erasmus beating one tackle but his shot rebounded off defender Carlington Nyadombo in the 35th minute.
AmaZulu held firm through the Pirates reprisal which was indicative of their strong defensive line in the first half.
Pirates winger Mpho Makola saw his powerful free-kick shot sail over the crossbar and goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.
AmaZulu continued to threaten the opposition's defensive wall and just before the interval Ndulula appeared to have been fouled once again by Mahamutsa but referee Lwandile Mfiki flashed a yellow card at the striker for alleged simulation.
AmaZulu central midfielder Nhlanhla Shabalala held things together in the middle of the field.
The industrious Shabalala clearly won the battle against his counterpart Issa Sarr, who was substituted by winger Sifiso Myeni at the start of the second half.
Ndulula roamed free in the Pirates half of the pitch, and was never marked closely enough to eliminate his threat to them.
AmaZulu went into the half-time break the better of the two sides having been the more dominant team.
Pirates striker Erasmus broke clear of the defence and got sight on goal in the 51st minute, but once again his shot took a deflection from defender Bonginkosi Macala.
After a flurry of attacks, Makola fed through an assist to Matlaba who calmly shot the pass past a diving Kapini.
Pirates' attack still lacked vigour and even though they drew level, the team never took full control an hour into the match.
AmaZulu wing-back Marc van Heerden nullified the attack on the flank from Matlaba and Makola.
Pirates' failure to score more goals was compounded by the team's poor showing in front of goal when they did get a sniff on the opposition goalmouth.
With the introduction of Myeni and Lethlohonolo Majoro after the hour mark, Pirates began to make inroads through the flanks and spent some significant time in the opposition half.
Pirates lacked the finish touch as the match began to open up and AmaZulu lost their shape the back.
In a desperate effort to double their lead Pirates threw in creative midfielder Thabo Qalinge and he immediately had an impact. – Sapa