Caf Champions League: Unlucky AmaZulu held by disjointed TP Mazembe
The PSL side created clear chances in both halves but they were, unfortunately for them, unable to convert them into goals
AmaZulu and Tout Puissant Mazembe recorded a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Caf Champions League first-round encounter at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday.
Usuthu, who were more dominant in both the first and the second halves, were unlucky to not find at least a goal from the numerous chances created and the goalless draw means the second leg tie in Lubumbashi on October 23 will ultimately decide the team that progress to the next phase.
Benni McCarthy’s side looked like the most likely team to get an opener and Sphesihle Maduna’s free-kick – after Etienne Mayombo committed a foul – was the first test TP Mazembe’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro had to deal with in the 14th minute.
Mounkoro had to be alert again in the 19th minute when Siyethemba Sithebe broke through a crowded defensive area but the goalkeeper’s quick intervention saved the visitors from going down.
Veli Mothwa rose high enough to collect the ball in the 24th minute as the Ravens attacked in a crowded penalty box and tried to get a corner kick opportunity at AmaZulu’s goal, which was superbly stopped by the South African goalkeeper.
In the 29th minute, Usuthu attempted to find a way past their stubborn rivals with a long ball from Tapelo Xoki to Mbongeni Gumede, but the latter was unable to collect it, giving the visitors a chance to win a throw-in.
Mothwa made yet another great save in the 43rd minute to deny TP Mazembe a chance of getting an opener from a well-taken corner kick that found a rising Ngimbi Mvumbi, whose header was directed to the bottom corner.
Usuthu were more adventurous in the early stages of the second half, although their clinical build-ups, especially from the midfield, did not result in any goals as TP Mazembe looked disjointed.
McCarthy made two changes in the 65th minute when he introduced Luvuyo Memela and Thabo Qalinge in places of Bongi Ntuli and Maduna, respectively.
The Ravens – who had created few chances in the second half – almost grabbed the first goal of the game in the 70th minute, but their creativity that opened up AmaZulu’s defence with ease could not result in a positive result as Mothwa punched the ball back into play.
The Premier Soccer League side was presented with a good chance to break the deadlock in the 80th minute when Luvuyo Memela was brought down just outside the box but Sithebe’s free-kick went slightly over the bar.
Augustine Mulenga and Sithebe were substituted in the 84th minute when McCarthy decided to strengthen the striking area with the introduction of Lehlohonolo Majoro and Siphelele Mthembu.
The added firepower upfront could not bring the desired result on the part of the home side as the two sides ended up drawing in Durban.