Amazulu hold Orlando Pirates in enthralling clash

AmaZulu FC drew 1-1 with Orlando Pirates in an entertaining Absa Premiership match at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.

The draw leaves Usuthu unmoved at the bottom of the league standings, while the Buccaneers remain second - having missed out on a chance to return to the summit.

Both teams launched attacks in the opening stages of the game and it was the visitors who broke the deadlock through Augustine Mulenga.

Thembinkosi Lorch sent Mulenga through on goal and the latter beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha to make 1-0 to Pirates in the 13th minute.

The hosts tried to level matters through Marc Van Heerden, who joined Usuthu after he was released Pirates at the end of last season.

The free-kick specialist's effort from a set-piece missed the target without testing Bucs shot-stopper Jackson Mabokgwane just before the half-hour mark.

AmaZulu striker Emiliano Tade's goal-bound shot was blocked by Pirates defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza in the 32nd minute as the hosts continued to probe.

Pirates took control of the game with the halftime break approaching and in the 37th minute, Xola Mlambo forced Usuthu keeper Mbatha into a fine save.

Despite late pressure, AmaZulu were able to contain Pirates for the rest of the half and the score was 1-0 in favour of the visitors at the interval.

The hosts came back rejuvenated following their halftime team talk with head coach Cavin Johnson, who has been in charge of the Durban-based team since August 2017.

It took only three minutes for Tade to make it 1-1 after being set-up by Jabulani Ncobeni, who had burst into the box with the Pirates defence exposed.

It was end-to-end stuff in the ensuing minutes as Bonginkosi Ntuli was denied by Mabokgwane and at the other end, before Shonga hit the woodwork with Mbatha well-beaten.

Mabokgwane and his counterpart, Mbatha, were both very busy in the closing stages of the game as they made crucial saves as the two teams pushed for the winning goal.

Ultimately, the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate following an enthralling encounter between two old rivals.

AmaZulu 1

Tade 48'

Pirates 1

Mulenga 13'

AmaZulu: Mbatha, Sikhakhane, Van Heerden, M.Gumede, Ouro-Akoriko, Darpoh, Vilakazi, Karuru (Sithebe 71'), Ncobeni (Cele 78'), Tade, Ntuli (Khenyeza 90').

Pirates: Mabokgwane, Matlaba, Maela, Marcelo, Jele, Nyauza (Thopola 46'), Mlambo, Nyatama, Lorch (Qalinge 81'), Mulenga, Shonga (Maphangule 81').