The game could have been won by either side had they taken their chances better.
DURBAN – AmaZulu started off their new era under the chairmanship of Sandile Zungu with a scrappy 1-1 DSTV Premiership draw against Orlando Pirates at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium in Durban. Overall, the result was a fair reflection of the game as neither side was particularly dominant.
Speaking after the game, Usuthu coach Ayanda Dlamini indicated that he was happy with the point.
“It’s a good point. We played against good opposition. They dominated in some stages, but we had our moments. We kept the ball very well which is what we wanted. We had big chances but we can take the positives from the game. There is a lot to consider for our team,” he said.
The game could have been won by either side had they taken their chances better. However, the opening 15 minutes of the game were ill-tempered and it was surprising that the game produced no red-cards.
Gabadinho Mhango put Pirates ahead from the penalty spot in the 18th minute after the Sea Robbers were awarded a controversial spot-kick. Siphesihle Ndlovu was brought down by Sbusiso Mabaliso outside the penalty spot. After initially awarded Pirates a free-kick, the referee reversed his decision and pointed to the spot.
AmaZulu made several new signings but Luvuyo Memela was the only new recruit to start for the KZN club. Veteran Siphiwe Tshabalala played no part in the game as did Usuthu’s top scorer from last season Bongi Ntuli who was absent due to injury.
Malawian Mhango made no mistake in putting Pirates ahead with a clinical spot-kick. AmaZulu went on to equalize in the 33rd minute through veteran Lehlohonolo Majoro.
Majoro’s initial spot-kick was saved by Pirates keeper Wayne Sandilands but Majoro made no mistake in converting from the spot.
Interestingly, the 34-year-old’s penalty conversion marked the third time in his career that he has scored on the opening day of the season.
Pirates defending in the game was sloppy at times and it will have to improve if they want to be title contenders this season.
Sandilands produced two great saves in the second half to deny Usuthu to lead. The first came in the 59th minute as he denied Majoro from a curling effort. The second came in second-half stoppage time as Majoro presented Memela with a golden opportunity to equalize from a cross.
Sandilands was wise to the danger to prevent his side from conceding what likely would have been a winner for Usuthu.
Both teams are in action next Wednesday and will have to learn from their mistakes quickly. Pirates will be up against Stellenbosch FC whilst Usuthu plays TS Galaxy.