Durban – AmaZulu’s frustrating home form continued as they were held to a 0-0 stalemate by struggling Marumo Gallants in a rescheduled game at the King Zwelethini Stadium.
The original match was set to be held a day earlier but was called off after 10 minutes owing to similarities in the kit between the teams. AmaZulu donned their away kit for this game which put paid to the confusion.
One of the surprise inclusions in the AmaZulu starting eleven was New Zealander Andre De Jong. The 25-year-old only made two league appearances for Usuthu last season which caused many to speculate that he was surplus to requirements at the Durban-based club.
The word “boring” can be used to accurately describe the first half of the game as neither side managed to exert their domination with opportunities for either team being few and far between.
It was the away side who carved the only real good opportunity of the first half as a shot from Junior Dion had to be parried onto the post by AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.
The first half was best symbolized by Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo’s shot at goal in the 44th minute. After making a strong run, Ndlondlo struck a long-shot but it failed to cause any trouble whatsoever for Mothwa as it lacked power.
An irate Usuthu coach Benni McCarthy could be seen walking to the changeroom before the half-time break due to his frustration. The three-man midfield of AmaZulu failed to supply in form striker Bongi Ntuli with sufficient service in the opening half.
AmaZulu started the second half with more energy and won a set piece on the edge of the area early on. Mpho Mvelase was required to produce some vital defending for Gallants as Siyethemba Sithebe’s set-piece got a flick on towards goal before Mvelase made the vital intervention.
Despite dominating possession in the second half, AmaZulu were unable to craft out clear-cut chances with their attack appearing to be lethargic. By the 75th minute, stats indicated that Usuthu had 65% ball possession but their goalkeeper Mothwa was still the more busier with Gallants' keeper Washington Arubi being a mere spectator in the second half.
Gallants would have ended the game as the happier side as they claimed a valuable away point.
The result leaves Usuthu in 9th place in the league and 11 points behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who have played a game less.
Meanwhile, AmaZulu will next be in action on Sunday afternoon when they host MTN 8 runners-up Cape Town City in a rescheduled league game at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The game was initially set to take place on Saturday but had to also be rescheduled owing to the rescheduling of Usuthu’s game against Gallants.