AmaZulu and Cape Town City played out a 1-1 draw in their DStv Premiership match at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on Saturday night.
The result – which sees the Citizens and Usuthu placed sixth and ninth on the log respectively – will be deemed a better one by the Durban side, given that they played the final 18 minutes plus added time with 10 men following the dismissal of Lehlohonolo Majoro.
Earlier, Majoro had opened the scoring for the team in green, but the Cape side struck back through a first goal in South Africa from Ghanaian striker Prince Opoku Agyemang.
AmaZulu claimed an early lead, with Majoro converting a penalty in the fourth minute. The spot kick was not without its controversy, though, as the foul on Majoro from Taariq Fielies which led to the penalty was committed just outside the 18-yard area.
Usuthu threatened again nine minutes later, with Augustine Mulenga cutting inside from the left flank and firing a sweetly-hit shot just over the target, with goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh looking a worried man for a split second.
Mulenga had a far more presentable chance just past the half-hour mark after a clever through ball from Luvoyo Memela put him through on goal, but Leeuwenburgh did well to close the angle and make a fine save with his legs.
City had offered a sporadic threat in attack, but their rhythm grew as the half wore on and they found an equaliser on 40 minutes through Prince Opoku Agyemang, who latched onto a fine pass from Abbubakar Mobara and fired home with the left foot to make it 1-1.
AmaZulu then needed goalkeeper Siyabong Mbatha to make a full-stretch save in the 42nd minute to tip away a long-range effort from Fagrie Lakay which looked destined for the back of the net. The teams were locked 1-1 at the interval.
The hosts made a change at the start of the second half, replacing Mbatha with Neil Boshoff. The starting goalkeeper suffered a heavy collision with teammate Thembela Sikhakhane in the first half and was withdrawn during the break.
Another Usuthu substitute, Siphelele Mthembu, nearly put the home side back in front just after the hour mark when he nicked ahead of Fielies and opened space for a shot on the right side of the penalty area, but the City goalkeeper made another good save.
Mthembu had an even better chance shortly thereafter when Majoro squared to put him in on goal, but his effort was blocked by a brilliant recovery challenge from Fielies.
AmaZulu were reduced to 10 men on 72 minutes when Majoro mistimed a challenge and caught Thamsanqa Mkhize on the ankle with his studs. It was not a deliberately nasty challenge, but deemed reckless enough to warrant a straight red card from referee Victor Hlungwani.
With a numerical advantage, the momentum switched to City and they looked to claim a winner in the latter stages of the match, though the closest they came was a skewed effort from substitute Tashreeq Morris which failed to test Boshoff between Usuthu’s posts.
In fact it was AmaZulu who seemed the likelier scorers in the dying minutes, creating several half-chances, though ultimately the match ended all square.
Both AmaZulu and City will be back in DStv Premiership action next Saturday, December 5, with matches away to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and at home to Orlando Pirates respectively.
AmaZulu (1) 1 (Majoro 4’ pen)
Cape Town City (1) 1 (Opoku Agyemang 40’)
AmaZulu: Mbatha (Boshoff 46’), Sikhakhane, Mzava, Khumalo, Masilela, Chawaphiwa (Mthembu 59’), Makhaula, Sithebe, Mulenga (Magubane 83’), Memela, Majoro
City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhize (Roberts 81’), Fielies, Mobara, Mashego, Mokeke, Nodada, Mdantsane (Martin 76’), Lakay, Ralani, Opoku Agyemang (Morris 81’)