AmaZulu fought back from a goal down to hold Durban derby rivals Golden Arrows 1-1 in an Absa Premiership match at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Two penalties – scored by Nduduzo Sibiya and Bonginkosi Ntuli respectively – saw Abafana Bes’thende play to a second straight draw, while Usuthu are still waiting for a first win of the season.
Arrows threatened in the early stages, with Michael Gumede gifted a chance in the third minute, but his effort lacked the power to beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
That attempt signalled a spell of dominance for Abafana Bes’thende, but Usuthu’s defence held firm and the visitors were able to establish themselves in the game and begin putting some attacks together.
However, AmaZulu suffered an injury midway through the first half when they were forced to withdraw influential midfielder Butholweze Ncube and replace him with youngster Sphesihle Maduna.
Arrows broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Nduduzo Sibiya tucked home a penalty, putting the hosts 1-0 up. The spot kick was awarded after a foul on Lerato Lamola in the 18-yard area.
The goal sparked greater competitiveness and Thembela Sikhakhane was cautioned for one of several tough challenges which became more prevalent toward the end of the first half. The interval arrived with Arrows still a goal to the good.
However, Usuthu hit back just before the hour mark in the second half, with Bonginkosi Ntuli nonchalantly converting a penalty to make it 1-1. The visitors’ spot kick was earned by Ntuli himself, who was tripped up by Zolani Nkombelo.
The equaliser sparked a spell of end-to-end football, with both Durban teams looking to make the most of their attacking impetus. With just over 20 minutes to play, AmaZulu spurned a good chance when substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro shot over the crossbar, before Arrows went up the other end and Danny Phiri forced a good save out of Mbatha.
That set the tone for the remainder of the match, but neither side could break through in the time that remained. The result sees Arrows go level with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates on eight points in fifth place, while AmaZulu remain in 16th spot.
Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Sibiya 37’pen)
AmaZulu (0) 1 (Ntuli 59’ pen)
Arrows: Sibanda, S. Dube, Sibisi, Mathiane, Nkombelo, Sibiya (Sabelo 53’), Phiri, Shitolo (Venter 72’), Makhubela, M. Gumede, Lamola (Mutizwa 72’)
AmaZulu: Mbatha, Sikhakhane, M. Gumede, Xoki, T. Gumede, Ncube (Maduna 22’), Sithebe, Morton, Ncobeni (Magaqa 79’), De Jong (Majoro 59’), NtuliShare