Royal AM and AmaZulu could not be separated after playing to a goalless draw in a hard-fought Kwazulu-Natal derby at the Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday.
Result: Royal AM 0-0 AmaZulu
Date: 24 April 2022
Venue: Chatsworth Stadium
Tapelo Xoki and Andre de Jong came into Brandon Truter's AmaZulu starting lineup, while Cyril Lingwati and Mokete Mogaila were recalled by John Maduka to the Royal AM side.
The game had a great tempo to it and the return of the fans to seats meant the atmosphere was electric in the opening stages.
It was Royal AM who were the side playing with more initiative and probing more in the final third.
Royal threatened twice in quick succession around the quarter of an hour mark. First, Mbhazima Rikhotso rose highest to meet Ndumiso Mabena's cross but it was straight at Veli Mothwa when either side of the Usuthu shot-stopper would have hit the back of the net.
Second, Mxolisi Machuphu held the ball up well before threading a pass through the eye of the needle for Mabena, who sent the ball wide when he should have done better.
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AmaZulu midfielder Andre de Jong was then played in by Luvuyo Memela, but blazed a wayward effort high and wide before Tercious Malepe side-footed wide of the left post after the ball was cut back into the box for the defender.
Thwihli Thwala gave Brandon Truter's side a scare after they won a corner off Tapelo Xoki. The corner was swung to the back post and Sikhethele Mabuza headed it back across goal for Siphesihle Msomi, who could only fire wide.
The second half was a more dour affair, however Abubaker Mobara for AmaZulu and Victor Letsoalo for Royal AM both had decent attempts around the hour mark.
The best chance of the game fell to Memela in the 78th minute. Mobara's fierce strike on goal was parried by Hugo Nyame, who got quickly back to his feet to complete a fantastic double save to ensure his side would come away with a point.
Here's how they lined up:
Royal AM: 16. Nyame, 24. Lingwati, 14. Matlaba, 22. Rikhotso, 28. Mabuza, 13. Manganyi, 2. Msomi, 12. Mahlasela, 10. Mabena, 9. Macuphu, 13. Letsoalo.
Subs: 1. Heugh, 46. Mdluli, 34. Thikazi, 8. Phalane, 45. George, 30. Monamodi, 18. Mashikinya, 36. Maxwele, 42. Ncobeni.
AmaZulu: 44. Mothwa, 5. Sikhakhane, 13. Zulu, 27. Xoki, 2. Mobara, 4. Malepe, 8. Makhaula, 23. Mlambo, 11. Memela, 36. Kunene, 14. De Jong
Subs: 38. Amonome, 24. Masilela, 18. Moleko, 17. Gumede, 21. Ceesay, 45. Buchanan, 34. Maduna, 12. Majok, 9. Mthembu