Despite a dominant performance in their DStv Premiership clash in Durban at the Jonson Kings Park Stadium against AmaZulu, Kaizer Chiefs needed a late Keagan Dolly penalty to salvage a point against the hosts.
Luvuyo Memela scored the opening goal of the game against the run of play in the 48th minute.
This, after Chiefs had dominated the first half and could not convert a number of chances they managed to conjure.
AmaZulu keeper Veli Mothwa made a number of telling saves to deny Chiefs a comfortable win in this game.
Chiefs were awarded a late penalty deep into injury time at the end of the match – for a handball infringement inside the box – which Dolly converted to finally beat Mothwa to ensure there was a share of the spoils.
Dolly battled with Matarr Ceesay on the halfway line in the 22nd minute and won the ball before playing it to Bernard Parker, he continued racing upfield, with the ball falling to Khama Billiat after Phathutshedzo Nange’s lay off.
Billiat then found Dolly with a delightful ball threaded between the AmaZulu defence on the right-hand side of the home team’s 18-yard area. Dolly tried to curl the ball around Mothwa, who made himself big and got down low to push away the ball and deny Dolly.
Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi was himself alert to make a comfortable save from close range in the 27th minute. Mbongeni Gumede whipped the ball in from the right, with Thabani Dube managing to push it away from goal only as far as Sandile Khumalo, who hit the ball along the ground towards goal as Akpeyi got down to make the save.
With Chiefs beginning to dominate the midfield in the latter stages of the first half, Nange lofted the ball over the AmaZulu defence in the 36th minute to pick out Parker, whose instinctive shot at goal was thwarted by Mothwa, who stuck out a hand to make a crucial block.
In the 40th minute, AmaZulu again had their goalkeeper to thank for ensuring that Chiefs were denied once more from taking the lead as he stopped a powerful Billiat volley from just outside the AmaZulu penalty area unleashed a powerful volley at goal. Mothwa was again equal to the task to push the ball over the crossbar to avert the danger.
After all their dominance in the first half, Chiefs were left to rue those missed chances early on in the second half. Akpeyi cleared the ball up field, but it was headed back towards the Chiefs goal where Bongi Ntuli was able to head it to Keegan Buchanan, whose header to the right found Memela inside the Chiefs 18 yard area, as he swept the ball past Akpeyi to give AmaZulu the lead on 48 minutes.
Akpeyi made two big saves in the 56th minute, first coming off his line to save a close range shot from Memela. Shortly thereafter he stood his ground to make a save from Thabo Qalinge, blocking his shot from the left with his elbows as Usuthu looked to double their advantage.
Just past the hour mark, Parker managed to rise high above Khumalo to meet Nange’s lofted ball, again Mothwa managed to make a save blocking the ball with his knee.
Dolly tested Mothwa with another rasping shot from distance. Again the home keeper, although not as assured as he was in the earlier stages of the game, managed to make the save.
Dolly did beat Mothwa late on with a penalty five minutes into referees added time at the end of the game, as he scored his first league goal for Chiefs, driving the ball low into the right hand corner beating the diving Mothwa.
Amakhosi will be back in action after the international break when they will face Chippa United at home on the 16th of October.
Fact of the game – As Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter was facing AmaZulu for the seventh time, he has never lost to them (W6 D1). In the PSL era he becomes the first Chiefs coach to go 7 league games against any opponent without losing. Previously he and Ernst Middendorp had also avoided losing to Orlando Pirates in 6 league games.