Benni McCarthy receives yellow card as AmaZulu hold title-chasing Sundowns in spirited draw

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Benni McCarthy (Getty Images)
Benni McCarthy (Getty Images)

AmaZulu held log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns to a 0-0 draw in a feisty DStv Premiership encounter.

The gruelling match took place at the King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium on Wednesday as neither side were willing to drop points in the title race.

The Brazilians dominated the first half with majority of the ball possession but failed to make it count with no serious goal threats troubling the AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.

Usuthu were bullish in their defensive approach, as Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino, and Peter Shalulile were on the receiving end of nasty tackles from the home side.

The Sundowns players themselves put in some professional fouls, which AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy was not impressed with as he argued his case with the referee Jerry Chavani.

He then received a yellow card from the official for his approach.

However, Usuthu came close to taking a 1-0 lead ahead of the half-time whistle as newly signed midfielder Thabo Qalinge floated his effort over the crossbar.

Less than seven minutes after the restart, AmaZulu's Augustine Mulenga worried the Sundowns defence with a deft strike from the left flank, just inside the penalty area, that hit the post.

The Brazilians responded immediately with a counterattack as Sirino darted forwarded and played in Shalulile.

The Namibian was well defended against only for the ball to fall to Zwane, who hit a soft strike on target that Mothwa gloved with ease.

However, with 15 minutes remaining on the clock, McCarthy took liberty in using his substitute bench with Lehlohonolo Majoro replacing Siphelele Mthembu.

Sundowns responded with two changes as Sirino and Zwane made way for Gift Motupa and Aubrey Modiba.

The added fresh legs immediately impacted the game as Masandawana charged forward with Thapelo Morena as he teased a low cross towards Modiba. Still, the substitute struck the ball towards goal, only for Mothwa to softly punch the ball away.

Shalulile arrived late into the penalty area and latched onto the ball, but his effort at goal went narrowly wide.

The match reached its boiling point when coach McCarthy clashed with Sundowns captain Mosa Lebusa as the two had to be separated.

The Bafana Bafana legend was furious with Lebusa in attempting to stop a quick AmaZulu throw-in.

Lebusa received a yellow card while Sundowns senior coach Steve Komphela attempted to calm matters with having a brief chat with McCarthy.

AmaZulu held their nerve as the match ended in a goalless draw with Sundowns remaining unbeaten in the DStv Premiership while Usuthu dropped down to third place as Golden Arrows moved ahead on goal difference following their win over SuperSport United.

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