AmaZulu and Swallows in dull goalless draw
AmaZulu’s early season worries continued when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Swallows during their DStv Premiership match at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Wednesday.
In what turned out to be a fifth goalless draw after two complete rounds of matches, last season’s second-place finishers once again fired blanks in front of goal to leave coach Benni McCarthy frustrated.
AmaZulu started the campaign with a 2-1 loss to Cape Town City in the MTN8, followed by defeat to defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns and this draw against Swallows.
Swallows coach Brandon Truter will welcome a hard-fought away point that has left them with four points after they opened the season with a 1-0 win over rookies Royal AM.
McCarthy has enough time to work on their deficiencies as they return to action only on September 15 when they welcome SuperSport United. But Swallows turn their attention to their MTN8 semifinal against Cape Town City at Athlone on Sunday.
Truter made only one change to the team that beat Royal AM in their opening league match of the season last weekend, with Sipho Sibiya coming on for Wandisile Letlabika.
McCarthy made three changes of his own to the team that lost to Sundowns last week, with Tercious Malepe, Xola Mlambo and Lehlohonolo Majoro coming in for Samkelo Mgwazela, Keagan Buchanan and Bongi Ntuli.
The first half was devoid of clear scoring chances as most of the football was played in the heart of the midfield where Makhehleni Makhaula, Siyethemba Sithebe and Mlambo operated for AmaZulu.
Mkhaula, Sithebe and Mlambo did not have things their own way as they were up against capable opposition in the form of Lebohang Mokoena, Musa Nyatama and Lehlogonolo Matlou of the visitors.
The first real chance of the first half came after 25 minutes when Matarr Ceesay was released into the Swallows box by a defence-splitting pass from Majoro, but he was thwarted by alert Yagan Sasman.
On the stroke of halftime, Swallows registered their first threatening chance when winger Dillan Solomons broke down the Right flank only to be denied by AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.
The match started to open up after the break with Sithebe and substitutes Luvuyo Memela and Bonginkosi Ntuli, who replaced Sphesihle Maduna and Ceesay, threatening Swallows.
Swallows also raised their game with Ruzaigh Gamildien pressurising the AmaZulu defence marshalled by Tapelo Xoki and Malepe.
Xoki nearly shot himself in the foot after 80 minutes when he directed Lebohang Mokoena’s well-taken free-kick to his goalkeeper in a desperate attempt to clear the danger.
A few minutes later on the other side field, substitute AmaZulu fullback Kgotso Moleko delivered a pinpoint cross to Ntuli, but his close-range header could not find the target as they settled for a share of the spoils.