A win would have sent the Amakhosi to pole position for at least 24 hours but instead they remain in third place, level on points with top two Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport (who both play on Wednesday evening) but trailing them both thanks to an inferior goal difference. Usuthu remain in ninth place.
Chiefs dominated the first half and created several opportunities to find the back of the net and take control of the game, but attackers George Lebese and Sthembiso Ngcobo were both guilty of missing glaring chances.
In the 10th minute right winger Mandla Masango provided a perfect cross that took both the AmaZulu backline and goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini out of the game, but Lebese was unable to turn the ball home for what should have been a straightforward finish.
Ngcobo played off the shoulder of the last defender and got in on goal three times – he found the back of the net on the first occasion but was correctly ruled offside; the other two times he shot wide of the target with only the goalkeeper to beat.
AmaZulu’s attempts to live with Chiefs were further stymied by two unfortunate injuries. Both Tsweu Mokoro and Marc van Heerden had to be replaced in the first half after picking up knocks, resulting in awkward reshuffles in both midfield and defence.
Despite the unsettling effect of losing those two key players, Usuthu’s backline was solid for the rest of the half and their efforts were encapsulated by a heroic block from Belux Bukasa that ensured Lebese was unable to get a shot away when he looked destined to score in the 38th minute.
Amakhosi continued to boss the game in the second half but their dominance was less pronounced, especially as AmaZulu striker Ayanda Dlamini came to life with two good attempts at goal, the first of which was saved by Arthur Bartman while the other required a good block from Jimmy Jambo.
Chiefs boosted their attack with the introductions of Bernard Parker and Lehlohonolo Majoro in the last quarter of the match, though the next good chance again went the way of the hosts and Dlamini, who got on the end of a left-flank cross from Sibusiso Hadebe but was unable to get his header on target at the far post.
Jimmy Tau had a similar chance at the other end in the 84th minute and though he managed to direct a diving header on target after meeting another great ball from Masango, Kapini was in the right place to make his first notable save of the match.
Masango almost scored himself two minutes later, but under pressure from an AmaZulu defender he shot wide of the near post after leading a lightning-quick counter attack down the right wing.