AmaZulu, Celtic share spoils

AmaZulu and Bloemfontein Celtic had to settle for a point each when their Absa Premiership encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Lerato Manzini fired Celtic ahead midway through the second half but substitute Bongani Ndulula leveled the scores with just over ten minutes left on the clock to help his side avoid a home defeat.

The visitors threatened first in the fifth minute when Musa Nyatama collected a pass from Rodreck Mutuma just outside the penalty area, but his low shot was turned around the post by Aubrey Mathibe.

Ten minutes later Keagan Buchanan found Lerato Manzini on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked by Carlington Nyadombo; the ball fell for Nyatama on the right but the midfielder shot wide of the upright.

Usuthu started to get into the match and came close to breaking the deadlock in the 26th minute but Ayanda Dlamini saw his first shot blocked by a defender before sending the rebound straight at Patrick Tignyemb.

Five minutes later the hosts created their best chance of the first half but Tignyemb pulled off a good save to push Goodman Dlamini’s low effort onto the foot off the post.

The Bloemfontein Celtic goalkeeper then recovered quickly to make a second crucial block, this time using his feet to stop a follow-up shot from Ayanda Dlamini.

Phunya Sele Sele created another good chance in the 39th minute with Mutuma using his quick feet to turn away from Nyadombo, but the Zimbabwean dragged his shot wide of the upright.

Ernst Middendorp’s side almost stole the lead on the stroke of halftime when Manzini was offered room to shoot just outside the box, but his curled effort was parried wide by Mathibe.

Both sides struggled to create openings at the start of the second half but it was the visitors who eventually opened the scoring in the 68th minute when Manzini slid in to bury Mutuma’s low cross.

The goal served as a wake-up all for the home side and they almost equalised in the 73rd minute with Nkosinathi Mthiyane firing his low shot wide, before Ayanda Dlamini saw a similar effort pushed wide by Tignyemb.

From the resulting corner, Mthiyane saw his delivery deceiving Tignyemb and crashing against the crossbar, but defender Tamsanqa Teyise was unable to capitalise as he headed wide from the rebound from point blank range.

The equalising goal arrived in the 79th minute when Ndulula’s powerful header was blocked on the line by Tignyemb, but the forward reacted quickest to bury the rebound into the net with the help of the inside of the post.

The home side then threw everything forward in search of the winning goal but Mohammed-Awal Issah shot wide in the 85th minute while Goodman Dlamini blasted his shot over the crossbar from inside the box two minutes later.

The final chance of the match came in the second minute of added time when Ndulula unleashed a low shot from a long way out, but Tignyemb was able to deny him his second goal of the match, although he spilled the ball wide to concede a late corner.

AmaZulu have moved up to seventh place on the table with 13 points from 10 matches, while Celtic are in 12th place with 10 points.

AmaZulu (0) 1 (Ndulula 79’)

Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Manzini 68’)

AmaZulu: Mathibe, Mwedihanga, Van Heerden, Teyise, Nyadombo, Madondo, Dlamini G, Manqana (Issah 65’), Mthiyane (Ngcobo 87’), Zondi (Ndulula 67’), Dlamini A

Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Mahoa, Nthethe, Daniels, Mzava, Arwuah, Buchanan (Mogorosi 67’), Ntanga (Letlabika 83’), Nyatama, Mutuma (Gamildien 90+1’), Manzini