Usuthu resilient

2014-01-24 00:00

CAPTAIN Carlington Nyadombo’s second-half header rescued a point for AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium last night in a lively and entertaining 1-1 PSL draw against Orlando Pirates.

Ayanda Gcaba’s 56th minute goal had put the visitors 1-0 up in front of a small crowd by Pirates’ standards, but Usuthu, though largely outplayed, were resilient enough to earn a share of the spoils.

The opening stages of the match suggested that the home side were still in holiday mode as Pirates came out possessed. Lucky Lek­gwathi almost gave his side the lead as early as the fifth minute when he connected a Kheto Masuku corner, but his header drifted wide.

Just three minutes later Andile Jali was put in a fantastic position thanks to good work from Kermit Erasmus, but the Bafana Bafana midfielder blasted his effort over the bar.

It was one-way traffic at that stage, and Erasmus was causing all sorts of problems for an AmaZulu defence that would have been wondering how they were going to withstand that amount of pressure all night.

After dancing his way down the left hand touchline and passed Usuthu’s right back Bonginkosi Macala, Erasmus floated in a tantalizing ball that Thandani Ntshumayelo should have done better with — his header looping over the crossbar. A deflected effort from Erasmus came moments later from just outside the area, but shot topper Aubrey Mathibe — standing in for the injured Aubrey Mathibe — was well positioned and made a comfortable save.

Somehow, AmaZulu were able to get through the opening 15 minutes unscathed, and they had their first chance when Goodman Dlamini pinched the ball off left back Ayanda Gcaba. The Usuthu attacker then opted to shoot from an acute angle, and when Bucs keeper Senzo Meyiwa saved the shot, striker Bongani Ndulula was left fuming that he hadn’t received a pass from Dlamini.

Despite Pirates’s dominance, AmaZulu came closest to finding the net in the first half when Ayanda Dlamini squared a ball to Goodnam Dlamini in the Bucs area. Goodman took a touch before snapping at his shot, and Meyiwa was beaten for all money before the ball cannoned into the left hand upright as the score stayed 0-0. After the frantic start, the game slowed down as half time drew near, but Pirates would have one more effort on goal when Masuku side-footed a Thabo Matlaba cross straight at Mathibe.

The second half saw Pirates again start as the more dominant side, and the visitors took the lead in fortunate circumstances just 11 minutes after the restart. With centre back Tamsanqa Teyise off the pitch injured, Usuthu conceded a corner, and when Aubrey Ngoma sent in his corner Gcaba capitalised on AmaZulu’s weakened aerial defence to head home and make it 1-0. Teyise was substituted straight after the goal, but it was too late.

AmaZulu recovered well after the goal, and they were back on level terms just 11 minutes later also through a set piece.

Mthiyane won a free kick on the left flank, and set piece specialist Marc van Heerden whipped in the delivery with his educated left boot. It was Nyadombo who won the aerial battle this time, and his powerful header rocketed into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Pirates had the ascendancy after that goal as they became desperate for a winner, but it was not to be.

Matlaba had a golden chance to win it with the goal at his mercy with seven minutes to play, but he couldn’t direct Ngoma’s ball on target despite being at point blank range.

AmaZulu were stretched in the final stages, and would have been more than happy to hear the final whistle.

Other result

Mamelodi Sundowns 0 — 1 Kaizer Chiefs

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