AmaZulu's struggles in the DStv Premiership continued after playing to a 1-1 draw against Maritzburg United on Wednesday evening.
Usuthu had Gabadinho Mhango back from suspension after he missed the match against Orlando Pirates last Friday, with Tumelo Njoti the only change for the Team of Choice.
Mhango energized the home team’s attack following the opening stages and after dropping deep to pick up George Maluleka’s pass managed to get in the first shot on target.
Maritzburg launched an instant response to the threat of Usuthu and saw Keegan Ritchie work an angle outside the area to bring a low sprawling save off goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.
The press from Usuthu almost caught United shortly after the half-hour mark and were close to the lead where Maluleka’s powerful strike outside the area crashed against the post.
Usuthu kept the momentum eight minutes to halftime and went ahead after Sphesihle Maduna cut in to the right of the area and cutback for Mhango to tap in from close-range.
In an effort to overturn the tie, Maritzburg decided to refresh their attacking stall and removed Amadou Soukouna to bring on Tawanda Macheke.
Usuthu were dealt a big blow with just ten minutes in the second half, as a poor challenge by Tercious Malepe forced referee Thando Ndzanzeka to dish a straight red card and leave the host a man short.
The Team of Choice continued to push bodies forth around the closing exchanges and had the host on the back-foot where Ramahlwe Mphahlele in particular needed to clear their defensive lines.
John Maduka’s charges maintained the pressure and were rewarded with 12 minutes remaining as Friday Samu bothered around the area and applied a stern finish past Mothwa.
Both teams went all out for the winner towards the end of the encounter, but neither were successful as Usuthu hit the woodwork in stoppage time as it ended 1-1.
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Hanamub, Mphahlele, Mobara, Buchanan, Malepe, Maluleka, Maduna, Kwem, Mhango
Subs: Amonome, Mabiliso, Zulu, Makhaula, Brooks, Magaqa, Bwalya, Kunene, Ndlovu
Maritzburg United: Anye Derick, Makume, Ritchie, Mashikinya, Theron, Sam, Graham, Moloisane, Njoti, Soukouna, Samu
Subs: Leaner, Palace, Conco, Human, Kimvuidi, Macheke, Van der Ross, Monamodi, Masia.
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