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21 Apr 2013 17:27
Tamsanqa Teyise. (Gallo)
After a poor first half, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday, the game improved slightly in the second period, but not enough for either side to score with the point apiece lifting the hosts to 12th and keeping the visitors in 11th place on the log.
Usuthu made the better start in front of a small crowd on a wet afternoon, with an off-balance Andile Khumalo having the first opening after six minutes when he put a free eight-yard header over the bar after a floated cross by Nkanyiso Cele from the left.
At the other end, an error from the home side through Tamsanqa Teyise midway through the half then almost allowed a lurking Jabulani Shongwe in, but the defender managed to recover and hoick away the loose ball.
Before the break, Richard Henyekane found himself in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area after a sublime initial ball by Hlompho Kekana, but the goal-bound strike was deflected wide.
Esrom Nyandoro had the final chance of the half that was fired across the face of goal to end a poor opening period. Kagiso Senamela was introduced by the hosts after the interval and he almost made an immediate impact by forcefully breaking forward down the right and sending a searching ball towards Joseph Malongoane that was gathered by Sandilands at the second attempt.
Sundowns too looked more threatening and after referee Robert Smith failed to spot a foul on AmaZulu keeper Tapuwa Kapini, both Kekana and Edward Mnqele had the shots that were cleared in a goalmouth melee – the former poking the final shot wide.
Another of the home side's replacements Thokozani Mshengu was fortunate in the 70th minute after his under-hit back pass was intercepted by Tebogo Langerman, but Kapini managed to block the strike.
With six minutes remaining, the pressure began to intensify on the home goal, as Brazilians' replacement Elias Pelembe should have done better than firing wide from the centre of the box with time and space on his hands.
AmaZulu almost snatched a winner in the 87th minute when Sandilands had to be at his best to keep out Senamela, who fired first-time after a swift break forcing the goalkeeper to throw himself one-handed at the ball and palm over.
That was by far the best chance of the match and proved the final one too as the match ended without a goal.
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