AmaZulu and Pirates share the spoils
AmaZulu fought back from a disappointing first half to secure a spirited Premiership draw with Orlando Pirates at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Saturday.
AmaZulu 1 Orlando Pirates 1
Mulenga puts visitors ahead in first half they dominate
Tade levels as hosts boss second half
Shonga strikes post for Bucs
Soweto side miss chance to climb top
Augustine Mulenga fired the visitors ahead in the 13th minute as they dominated the opening half. Emiliano Tade levelled matters in the 49th minute, before Bucs goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane made a string of key saves to keep the scoreline level.
In the end, both sides had to settle for a draw, the Soweto side wasting the chance to go top, while the Durbanites remained bottom.
Pirates bossed the opening half and they deservedly hit the lead when Justin Shonga's run into an off-side position confused the AmaZulu defence, with Innocent Maela and Theminkosi Lorch combining to put Mulenga through on the right and the Zambian completed an easy finish.
The visitors continued to dominate with a few half-chances for Usuthu inbetween Marc van Heerden and Tade putting both wide.
Xola Mlambo then came close to doubling the advantage before half time when he forced Siyabonga Mbatha to throw himself towards the ball to stop the shot from the edge of the box.
Straight after the restart, the hosts were level. It came when Tade played the ball wide to Bongi Ntuli, who found Ncobeni, and after some quick feet, he laid the ball into the path for the Argentinian to crash in.
There was almost an instant reply from Shonga when he sprung the off-side trap from along ball that came from the back, outpaced the two men closest to him, before seeing his shot brilliantly saved by the leg of Mbatha.
The action continued when a flying Ntuli beat his man on the left and shot straight at Mabokgwane.
Before the hour there were three more key saves for the visiting goalkeeper to make.
First he made a diving stop to keep out Tade's freekick, then he saved from Ntuli after good pressure from the South American and the rebound was again excellently blocked from Karuru.
On the other side of the hour, Shonga rocked the woodwork with a flying attempt as he managed to stretch and get a touch onto Maela's left-sided cross.
With 10 minutes to go, Tade again drew a brilliant save from Mabokgwane, with his curled free-kick clawed out from the top corner. It was the last big chance as the sides shared the points.