Golden Arrows and AmaZulu couldn’t be separated in a thrilling 2021/22 DStv Premiership fixture, which ultimately ended in a 2-2 draw at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Wednesday afternoon.
The result moved Usuthu onto three points for the season, with Benni McCarthy’s men still in search of their first league victory of the campaign. A point was enough to move Abafana Bes’thende up to seventh on the standings.
The first noteworthy chance of the match came via the head of Luvuyo Memela in the 11th minute. He was able to generate a lot of power but his attempt flew straight into the grateful arms of Sifiso Mlungwana in the Arrows goal.
Mlungwana was on hand once more in the 23rd minute, this time to deny Bonginkosi Ntuli, who got on the end of a lofted ball played over the Arrows defensive line.
He could do little, though, from the resulting corner kick, as AmaZulu hit the front. Tsepo Masilela directed the ball into a dangerous area and Xola Mlambo showed great awareness to turn and shoot the ball into the roof of the net.
AmaZulu were only in the lead for six minutes. Arrows were awarded a penalty following a handball by Masilela inside the area and Knox Mutizwa made no mistake form the spot to build on his impressive record against the club’s KwaZulu-Natal rival.
Arrows were awarded another spot-kick in the 41st minute following a rash challenge by Memela on Nkosinathi Sibisi. Mutizwa stepped up again, but hit the post with his effort before Veli Mothwa did well to deny Pule Mmodi on the rebound.
At the other end of the pitch, AmaZulu also tested the woodwork as Siyethemba Sithebe watched his rasping shot from range rattle the framework. Ntuli pounced on the rebound but was twice denied by Thabani Zuke on the goal line.
Usuthu hit the woodwork once more just after the hour mark. Siphesihle Maduna’s curling free-kick had Mlungwana worried but the Arrows shot-stopper did well to direct the attempt onto the crossbar and out of danger.
Arrows then hit the front as second-half substitute Matome Mathiane provided the desired impact off the bench with a towering header from a corner kick in the 77th minute.
But they too were unable to hold onto the lead as Sibisi fouled Maduna inside the area two minutes later. Ntuli duly stepped up and converted from the spot to level matters once more and in the end, both teams had to settle for a point apiece.
Golden Arrows (1) 2 (Mutizwa pen. 30′ Mathiane 77′)
AmaZulu (1) 2 (Mlambo 24′ Ntuli pen. 79′ )
Golden Arrows: Mlungwana; Cele, Zuke, Sibisi, Dube, Dlamini, Mbhele (Gumede 62′), Magawana (Magubane 69′), Khumalo (Mathiane 69′), Mmodi, Mutizwa (Nkosi 85′).
AmaZulu: Mothwa; Masilela, Mgwazela, Xoki, Moleko (Gumede 46′), Makhaula, Mlambo (Buchanan 66′), Sithebe, Maduna (Majoro 82′), Memela (Ceesay 66′), Ntuli (Mthembu 83′).
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