Richards Bay have Premiership fate in own hands with AmaTuks draw

Yanela Mbuthuma of Richards Bay celebrates scoring the opening goal against AmaTuks yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Yanela Mbuthuma of Richards Bay celebrates scoring the opening goal against AmaTuks yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 16, 2024



Richards Bay FC held off an inspired University of Pretoria charge for maximum points as both sides played to a 1-1 draw at the Tuks Stadium yesterday.

The result leaves the KZN side still in pole position to retain their PSL status heading to the final match of the promotion-relegation play-offs.

Richards Bay lead the log on five points from three matches, but with a better goal difference of +1 over AmaTuks, who are also on five, but have a goal difference of zero and have completed their four games.

Now Richards Bay have their fate in their own hands, as they only need a draw against Baroka FC in the final match of the play-offs on Wednesday to stay in the Premiership.

The crunch encounter with high stakes was do or die for both sides. The Natal Rich Boyz had the advantage and needed a win to prolong their run in the DStv Premiership.

AmaTuks and the lively Thabang Sibanyoni threw the first punch and had Salim Magoola backpedaling in the eighth minute of the encounter following a long-range effort, but the 29-year-old keeper sorted out his feet in time to tip the effort over for the first corner.

Sibanyoni had AmaTuks’ second-best chance of the half in the 37th minute, but his miscued shot went over the bar.

The visitors had to navigate their way through a flurry of the home side’s attacks, and despite creating few goal-scoring opportunities, they were rewarded.

Yanela Mbuthuma found himself between three AmaTuks defenders in the 39th minute, and saw his tame header from a corner trickle through Edward Maova’s hands and into the net, after it took a bad bounce off the surface.

The home side would have been disappointed to end the half trailing after having had a grip on proceedings.

Tebogo Mohlamonyane was perfectly aligned with the task at hand, his precise cross finding the head of Kamogelo Pheeane in the 48th minute, and after having been afforded ample space, he picked his spot and equalised early in the second half.

Mohlamonyane was having a field day on the left flank, and his crosses found the visitors wanting. The 24-year-old had a chance to follow up his assist with a goal, but his 60th-minute powerful strike hit the crossbar.

The game opened up more, with both sides needing full points, and despite their advantage, Richards Bay knew another goal would probably close things up for them – but the AmaTuks shot-stopper had other ideas.

Mbuthuma, open on goal, was a kick away from winning it for his side, but Maova made up for his early mistake as he denied the 22-year-old forward in a double save that kept the home side alive with minutes quickly ticking by.

Maova then denied Sanele Barns for the last opportunity of the half as both teams shared the spoils.

Richards Bay will take their advantage to KZN as they await Baroka FC in a result that will heavily impact AmaTuks on Wednesday.