Royal AM moved up to second in the DStv Premiership despite playing to a goalless draw against AmaZulu in the KwaZulu-Natal derby on Saturday afternoon.
Result: AmaZulu 0-0 Royal AM
Date: 04 December 2021
Venue: Moses Mabhida Stadium
Usuthu made only one change from their draw with Maritzburg United, as Augustine Mulenga took the place of Thabo Qalinge in the line-up while Royal recalled Levy Mashiane and handed Kgotso Mofokeng his first start.
Benni McCarthy's charges started brightly and Andre de Jong had a good chance to give them the lead in the 12th minute after going through inside the box but his shot was saved by goalkeeper Hugo Nyame.
The game was getting physical midway through the first stanza, with neither side getting chances and Usuthu were forced to make a change on the half-hour mark after Xolani Mlambo got injured and he was replaced by Siyethemba Sithebe.
After absorbing the pressure for the better part of the first stanza, John Maduka's charges were threatening on counter-attacks in the closing phase of the first stanza but they were not accurate enough to trouble goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.
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McCarthy's men had another lively start in the second stanza and De Jong had another chance ten minutes from the break but he was denied again by Nyame.
The game was opening up after that and AmaZulu made a double change in the last 15 minutes, as Tercious Malepe replaced Keagan Buchanan due to injury and Siphelele Mthembu came on for Luvuyo Memela in an attacking move.
Thembela Sikhakhane had the best chance of the game for AmaZulu three minutes later after going clear on goal inside the box but missed an open net and the sides shared the spoils, with Thwihli Thwahla leapfrogging Kaizer Chiefs in second place on the log with a better goal difference.
Here's how they started:
AmaZulu: 44. Mothwa, 17. Gumede, 24. Masilela, 27. Xoki, 5. Sikhakhane, 45. Buchanan, 8. Makhaula, 23. Mlambo, 30. Mulenga, 11. Memela, 14. De Jong.
Subs: 43. Boshoff, 22. Khumalo, 18. Moleko, 4. Malepe, 10. Sithebe, 25. Mzava, 7. Ntuli, 19. Moremi, 9. Mthembu.
Royal AM: 16. Nyame, 3. Mahashe, 13. Manganyi, 8. Phalane, 12. Mahlasela, 24. Lingwati, 30. Monamadi, 11. Potsane, 38. Mashiane, 21. Letsoalo, 17. Mofokeng.
Subs: 1. Mabokgwane, 5. Dlamini, 42. Ncobeni, 45. George, 50. Masuku, 14. Njoti, 28. Mabuza, 18. Mashikinya, 10. Mabena.