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Stalemate in Umlazi as Highlands Park hold AmaZulu to goalless draw

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Sphiwe Mahlangu of Highlands Park gets boot to the ball before Siyethemba Sithebe and Ovidy Karuru of AmaZulu FC at King Zwelithini Stadium. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

UMLAZI – AmaZulu were held to a goalless draw at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Saturday night in an Absa Premiership tussle against Highlands Park.

Usuthu are yet to open their account in 2019. Last week they suffered a setback losing 3-2 against Polokwane City away from home.

AmaZulu were favourites to sweep past Highlands Park because of their impressive home record but it wasn't to be. That record is still intact but sharing the spoils with Highlands felt like two points dropped instead one point gained for AmaZulu.

The Lions of North were the happier of the two sides. Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, Maritzburg United, Free State Stars, Baroka FC, Polokwane City and Bloemfontein Celtic have all failed to win in Umlazi.

Usuthu will now face Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday at the same venue. The game will kick off at 7.30pm.

AmaZulu dominated the first 20 minutes of the game as they controlled the pace of the game. They were asking a lot of questions of the Highlands Park defence, launching attack after attack.

Emiliano Tade was creating havoc for the Lions of North, mesmerising the Highlands defence with his silky skills.

The visitors were happy to sit back with the hope of catching Highlands on a counter attack.

Fransman Bevan of Highlands Park gets to the ball before Bonginkosi Ntuli of AmaZulu FC at King Zwelithini Stadium. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Fransman Bevan of Highlands Park gets to the ball before Bonginkosi Ntuli of AmaZulu FC at King Zwelithini Stadium. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Usuthu opted against using wingers, with coach Cavin Johnson playing four at the back, three midfielders and attacking with three forwards.

Tade and Gumede fluffed two glorious opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half.

The Lions of North gained confidence as the first half progressed but failed to create any meaningful chances to score goals.

Highlands came back from the interval more invigorated. Coach Johnson sacrificed Samuel Darpoh and Ovidy Karuru and introduced Augustine Ramphele and Mhlengi Cele in the second half in his search for the opening goal which never came.

Sibusiso Mabiliso missed a sitter in the dying minutes of the game. He profited from a good work done by Ramphele on the right and side.

Highlands Park have earned two important points in their opening two games of 2019. Last season they played out to a 2-2 stalemate against Pirates.

@Minenhlecr7

IOL Sport

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