Mamelodi Sundowns remain unbeaten and firmly in control of the DStv Premiership title race following a midweek set of matches across the country, which also saw inconsistent Kaizer Chiefs slump to a home defeat.
The headline game on Wednesday featured an in-form AmaZulu and log leaders Sundowns playing to a feisty 0-0 draw in Durban, with the result seeing the Brazilians further extend their record undefeated status to 21 games.
They remain six points clear at the head of the table with two games in hand – and they also ended a hot streak of six straight wins for their opponents in Durban.
Sundowns looked to grab an early goal at Kings Park and they threatened first when Lyle Lakay played a cross for his fellow fullback Thapelo Morena, who opted to volley the ball but hit the side-netting nine minutes into the encounter as Usuthu survived a scare.
AmaZulu grew in confidence as the match progressed and Sundowns defender Rushine de Reuck had to make a well-timed interception to deny Augustine Mulenga in the 19th minute.
With the two sides nullifying each other’s tactics, the score was 0-0 at the interval following a first half which had few clear-cut chances.
Sundowns dominated the match after the restart and AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa became a busy man between the sticks for Usuthu in the opening 15 minutes of the top-of-the-log encounter.
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The new Bafana Bafana international had to come out and gather Morena’s dangerous curling cross, before denying Themba Zwane following a quick counter-attack by the visitors from Pretoria.
With their side pushing for the opening goal, Sundowns co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena introduced Aubrey Modiba and Gift Motupa in the 73rd minute.
The duo nearly made an immediate impact as Motupa set-up Modiba, who was denied by Mothwa in the 77th minute and Peter Shalulile poked the ball wide of the target from the rebound.
AmaZulu were able to contain Sundowns in the dying minutes of the game and the match ended 0-0.
Chiefs beaten at home
In Johannesburg, Chiefs were beaten 2-1 at home by Cape Town City, with the visiting team claiming a second successive win and consolidating their place in the top eight, thanks to goals from Tashreeq Morris and Bradley Ralani.
The teams cancelled each other out in the early stages, before City spurned a great chance to go ahead with Morris blazing over from close range after a ball had deflected kindly into his path in the 19th minute.
But three minutes later the striker got his name on the scoresheet, holding off a challenge from Daniel Cardoso to stab home a shot from Terrence Mashego’s teasing left-flank cross – though Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune will be disappointed at allowing the ball to squeeze under his body.
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The Citizens continued to look the better team as the half continued, though they were unable to add to their advantage before the interval arrived.
City extended their lead in fortuitous circumstances in the 52nd minute, with Ralani’s long-range attempt deflecting off Erick Mathoho and wrong-footing Khune, who made no attempt to scramble back across his line as the ball skipped home for 2-0.
On 67 minutes the hosts pulled a goal back, with Kearyn Baccus arriving between two defenders to powerfully head home his first league goal of the season. Siyabonga Ngezana created the goal with a fine cross from the right.
Leopards' extend their winless run, Arrows stay sharp
Wednesday also saw last-placed Black Leopards extend their winless run to seven matches when they were held 0-0 at home by Stellenbosch, while Golden Arrows kept up their strong form and took second place with a 1-0 win away to struggling SuperSport United in Pretoria, courtesy of a goal from Nduduzo Sibiya.
Pirates remain unbeaten
In the Confederation Cup, Orlando Pirates remain unbeaten in the group stage after drawing 0-0 with ES Setif at Orlando Stadium.