AmaZulu rendered a dent to Mamelodi Sundowns’ chances of a shot at the Absa Premiership as the two sides played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
The hosts fought hard for a crucial draw that sent them three points clear of the relegation zone.
The visitors attacked at will, dominating the first half, but AmaZulu almost ran the Tshwane giants off their feet in the second period.
Sundowns midfielders Elias Pelembe and Teko Modise were on song in the first stanza and had the home side’s defence on the back foot whenever they were in possession.
Amazulu’s best break came in the 15th minute when Tangeni Shipahu unlocked the Sundowns defence with a neat pass to Goodman Dlamini, but goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands came off his line quickly and prevented the midfielder from attempting a strike.
Despite making all the running in the first half, Sundowns supporters had to wait until the 34th minute to see their side have a crack at goal.
Midfield workhorse Matthew Pattison led a break from his own half and supplied a pin point cross to Mphela.
The fleet-footed striker drilled a powerful header on target despite AmaZulu goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela getting a hand to it.
The home side clawed their way back when Hadebe drove a long-range free kick into the Sundowns area which took a slight deflection off Siyanda Xulu’s head before hitting the back of the net in first half injury time.
Though the hosts looked rattled in the opening half, they were completely transformed in the second period.
They could have taken the lead just after the interval when Dlamini, who covered plenty of distance in the midfield, fired a teasing cross into the Sundowns penalty area which eluded team-mates Shipahu and Ayanda Dlamini.
Downs’ best chance of the second half came on the hour mark. Modise played a pass to Nyasha Mushekwi who held off a marker but shot just wide with only Mzimela to beat.
AmaZulu continued to attack relentlessly and should have secured three points with nine minutes remaining.
Mbele played another telling cross into the Sundowns danger area, picking out Shipahu, but the Nambian striker’s header hit the crossbar.