Stars, AmaZulu play goalless draw

Free State Stars and AmaZulu played to a goalless draw in an Absa Premiership match at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday.

Both Ea Lla Koto and Usuthu created plenty of opportunities to break the deadlock, but it was day on which the defences and goalkeepers Glenn Verbauwede and Aubrey Mathibe were in their element.

The result sees the Free State side remain in 10th place on the log, now with 11 points from nine matches. The Durban club is still awaiting their first win of the league season, but have moved off the foot of the table on goal difference after joining Polokwane City on four points.

Stars settled the quicker of the two teams and threatened an early goal through attackers Moeketsi Sekola and Richard Henyekane, though neither was able to unduly trouble AmaZulu goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe.

The visitors gradually came into the game, with the lively Nkosinathi Mthiyane proving a thorn in the side of Stars’ defence, but he was not able to get the better of Glenn Verbauwede from numerous attempts in the first 45 minutes.

Bafana Bafana striker Bongani Ndulula probably had Usuthu’s best effort on goal in the first half, with his 34th minute shot forcing Verbauwede into a sharp save in which he could only parry the ball away from the target.

Ea Lla Koto opted for a change in midfield at the start of the second half, with former Black Leopards and Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder coming on as a substitute for Katlego Mashego to make his league debut for the Free State side.

The teams continued to trade scoring chances, with Madondo notably denied by a fine save from Verbauwede early in the second stanza, while Mabunda and Henyekane went close with long range shots that weren’t far off the mark.

Usuthu enjoyed a strong period of dominance with about a quarter hour remaining of regulation time, as both Madondo and substitute Philani Shange were denied by fine saves from Verbauwede.

Stars: Verbauwede, Mkhwanazi, Angula, Shabalala, Thlone, Mashego (Mabunda 46’), Masehe, Mdluli (Abdul-Basit 66’), Thebakang, Sekola (Abraw 81’), Henyekane

AmaZulu: Mathibe, Mwedihanga, Nyadombo, Johannes, Hlanti, Mthiyane, Madondo (Mwape 83’), Arwuah (Shabalala 71’), G. Dlamini, A. Dlamini (Shange 68’), Ndulula