Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu played to a 1-1 draw at FNB Stadium on Wednesday in a feisty encounter that saw both sides reduced to ten men.
Kgaogelo Sekgota and Njabulo Blom were recalled to the Chiefs side in the absence of Ramahlwe Mphahlele and surprisingly Khama Billiat. Meanwhile, Samkelo Mgwazela, Keagan Buchanan and Siphelele Maduna came into the AmaZulu side in place of Thembela Sikhakhane, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Xola Mlambo.
Chiefs were playing with a good tempo in terms of their passing and movement. In the fourth minute, Cole Alexander tried his luck with an acrobatic effort from a cross but it went wide.
Scroll through the gallery to see the former Kaizer Chiefs stars on AmaZulu's books
Siphelele Maduna then did well to seize on the loose ball on the edge of the Chiefs box in the 14th minute after the Amakhosi had sloppily given away possession and he lashed a strike narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
The Glamour Boys took the lead with 20 minutes gone when Keagan Dolly squared the ball into the box and Buchanan turned the ball into his own net.
Maduna then tried his luck with another long-range effort ten minutes before the interval but this time it was over the bar.
Usuthu were playing some slick two-touch football and moving the ball around quickly but not finding the finished product.
It was all Usuthu in the second half as Thabo Qalinge Qalinge made a well-timed run before shooting just wide. Chiefs then crafted an opportunity against the run of play as Veli Mothwa got his first taste of action when Sekgota teed up Keagan Dolly, who forced a good save from the Usuthu keeper.
The momentum swayed even further in AmaZulu's favour when Cole Alexander was sent off for a second bookable offence.
McCarthy's men deservedly equalised in the 76th minute courtesy of a combination between his two substitutes. Andre de Jong, having only just come on, made a run down the right-hand side and delivered a pinpoint cross into the area for Ntuli to side-foot home clinically.
Usuthu were all over the Amakhosi like a bad rash and soon after, De Jong came to the fore again when Luvuyo Memela's left-footed inswinger from the right-hand side was caught on the volley by the super-sub but it was brilliantly saved by the legs of Akpeyi.
With five minutes to go, numerical parity was restored when Mgwazele picked up a second yellow card which must have left McCarthy tearing his hair out.
In the end, Chiefs were the side holding on and can count themselves rather fortunate to come away with a point.
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Frosler, Njabulo Ngcobo, Mathoho, Cardoso, Sekgota, Blom, Alexander, Nange, Parker, Dolly.
Subs: Petersen, Mphahlele, Baccus, Agay, Dube, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Radebe, Manyama, Mashiane.
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Mgwazela, Xoki, Malepe, Makhaula, Buchanan, Sithebe, Qalinge, Maduna, Mulenga.
Subs: Boshoff, Khumalo, Mlambo, Sikhakhane, Ekstein, Memela, De Jong, Majoro, Ntuli.