The DStv Premiership top of the table clash between leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and second-placed AmaZulu ended in a goalless draw after a display of some enterprising football in KwaZulu-Natal.
The result saw the Brazilians keeping their hopes of an invincible season alive while Usuthu saw their six-game winning streak coming to an end.
As expected, the match took off in a high tempo with both sides holding nothing back at the Kings Park Stadium, however, the opening half did not have much to write home about, except Benni McCarthy’s yellow card. Referee Jelly Chavani booked the Usuthu mentor for being vocal about decisions going against his side.
Augustine Mulenga tried his luck with a grass-cutter from some distance out but Denis Onyango was up to the task as he palmed the ball away, giving Sundowns an opportunity to launch a counter attack led by Gaston Sirino. He had options to his left and he found Themba Zwane, whose tame shot was neatly dealt with by Veli Mothwa.
Sphelele Mthembu, who was tasked with leading Usuthu’s line, could not get the better of Onyango and McCarthy decided to withdraw him in the 74th minute, bringing on the more experienced Lehlohonolo Majoro, at the same time, Downs coaches pulled out their most creative players, Themba Zwane and Sirino, who were nullified for most of the second-half as Gift Motupa and Aubrey Modiba were sent on.
Masandawana launched another counter attack, this time led by Motupa who found Modiba, but his shot was saved by Mothwa but could not hold on to it as Peter Shalulile got the loose ball, facing an empty net but he did not have enough time to direct his shot as his attempt went narrowly wide off the mark.
Much to the credit of AmaZulu’s defence who were neat and tidy, not allowing Downs much joy in their 18-yard box, the Brazilians got their first corner kick of the game in the 83rd minute and they put it to waste.
Downs skipper, Mosa Lebusa, got McCarthy worked up in the dying moments of the game when he stopped Majoro from taking a quick throw-in, deliberately obstructing him right in front of Usuthu’s bench. However, McCarthy kept his cool as he knew that retaliation would lad him in hot water with a possible second yellow card.