Sundowns earn hard fought draw against AmaZulu

Mamelodi Sundowns held AmaZulu to a 3-3 draw in an enthralling Absa Premiership match at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Sunday afternoon.

The draw saw Usuthu and the Brazilians remain seventh and eighth respectively on the league standings.

Usuthu got off to the perfect start as they broke the deadlock just four minutes into the league encounter.

Zimbabwean midfielder Butholezwe Ncube robbed Sundowns midfielder Andile Jali of the ball on the edge of the visitors' box before firing past Sundowns goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The hosts had a chance to double their lead in the 18th minute following a good move by Sundowns' loanee Bonginkosi Ntuli.

The bulky forward made a run into the Brazilians box, before unleashing a shot which was well-saved by Pieterse.

Usuthu looked dangerous every time they pushed forward and they nearly scored through Tapelo Nyongo in the 25th minute.

The ball fell kindly for the defender and he unleashed a shot which was blocked by Sundowns defender Wayne Arendse from close range.

AmaZulu were left to rue their missed chances as Sundowns levelled matters through debutant Phakamani Mahlambi a minute before the half-hour mark.

Mahlambi's initial shot was blocked by AmaZulu keeper Moeneeb Josephs and the young forward scored from close range to make it 1-1 for Sundowns.

The former South Africa youth international was causing havoc for the Usuthu defence with his pace and skills.

However, AmaZulu stood firm at the back until match referee Victor Gomes blew the half-time whistle and the score was 1-1 at half time.

Sundowns took the lead for the first time just a minute into the second half when Toni Silva beat his marker, before firing past Josephs to make it 2-1 to the visitors. AmaZulu responded with a goal two minutes later through Jabulani Ncobeni, who pounced onto a loose ball to beat Pieterse and make it 2-2.

Pieterse had to pull off a great diving save to deny AmaZulu just after the hour-mark as the home side looked to take the lead again.

Usuthu did restore their lead and it was Ntuli who haunted his parent club following a well-worked set-piece in the 72nd minute.

The former Lamontville Golden Arrows and Platinum Stars striker beat Pieterse from close range to make it 3-2 to the hosts.

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane then introduced Sibusiso Vilakazi with 15 minutes left on the clock.

The South Africa international made a huge impact in the 86th minute as he scored from Tebogo Langerman's cross to make it 3-3

Both teams launched attacks in the closing stages of the match in search of a late winning goal, but it never came and the game ended in a draw.

AmaZulu 3

Ncube 5', Ncobeni 48', Ntuli 72'

Sundowns 3

Mahlambi 29', Silva 46', Vilakazi 86'

AmaZulu: Josephs, Sikhakhane, Mabiliso, Nyongo, M Gumede, Ncube, Vilakazi, Ramphela (Darpoh 85'), Ncobeni (Cele 75'), Sithebe, Ntuli (Khenyeza 87').

Sundowns: Pieterse, Ngcongca, Arendse, Nascimento, Langerman, Maboe, Kekana, Jali (Lakay 78') Meza (Vilakazi 75'), Mahlambi, Silva (Morena 82').