Chiefs, AmaZulu in stalemate
Posted: 22 February 2009 Time: 17:44
Kaizer Chiefs were held to a goalless draw by AmaZulu on Sunday, in the process missing out on a chance to go second on the log.
AmaZulu had Ntokozo Sikhakhane sent off six minutes from time, but Chiefs were unable to take advantage of the situation.
Had Amakhosi managed to pick up the three points, they would have put themselves in prime position to challenge leaders SuperSport United for the title (mainly because of Mamelodi Sundowns' surprise defeat at the hands of Bay United).
Instead, the Soweto side stay in fourth on 34 points, level with the Brazilians and Orlando Pirates, and six points behind Matsatsantsa. Usuthu remain in 12th, moving their points tally up to 25.
Chiefs made two changes from the team that beat Bloemfontein Celtic last weekend, with Jimmy Tau returning the starting line-up in place of Wayne Matle, while David Mathebula's inclusion ahead of Abia Nale saw a switch back to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation from the 4-3-3 coach Muhsin Ertugral has been experimenting with since the turn of the year.
AmaZulu made just one alteration from the side that held Ajax Cape Town to a goalless draw in their last League match, with Sthembiso Dlamini starting on the leftwing ahead of Japhet Zwane.
Much of the action in the first half took place in the middle of the park, with Usuthu's Ntokozo Sikhakhane and Thabo Mabaso battling it out with Tinashe Nengomasha and Mathebula.
Chiefs had a couple of early chances, with Mathebula and Arthur Zwane shooting off target, but it was AmaZulu's Dlamini who almost broke the deadlock on 28 minutes with a fierce shot was superbly held by Itumeleng Khune in the visitors' goal.
Defender Siboniso Gumede then came within inches of handing Usuthu the lead in the 36th minute when he got on the end of Dlamini's free-kick, but the ball rebounded off the woodwork.
There was little goalmouth action in the early stages of the second half, with the first genuine effort coming from Mathebula in the 64th minute, but his 20-yard right-footed effort was well over the crossbar.
Both sides soon made changes, AmaZulu replacing the ineffective Bradley Ritson with former Black Leopards marksman Myron Shongwe, while Chiefs introduced the guile and skill of Nale to their frontline, with Torrealba making way.
On 72 minutes Kaizer Motaung Jnr saw his long-range effort blocked by the hosts' goalkeeper, Kakonje Kalililo, and with just over five minutes of regulation time left, former Chiefs midfielder Sikhakhane received his second yellow card and was dismissed by the referee.
Amakhosi were unable to take advantage of having an extra player on the field, and the hosts managed to hold out for a valuable point.