Another missed opportunity as Amakhosi are held to a draw

23 November 2017 - 07:08 By MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE
Lerato Lamola in action.
Lerato Lamola in action.
Image: Charle Lombard/Gallo Images

Playing in pouring rain, AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs settled for a goalless draw at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, in an uninspiring Absa Premiership encounter on Wednesday night that had very few talking points.

AmaZulu, who finished the match with 10 men after Phumlani Gumede was red-carded, could have ended this match with all three points had striker Lerato Lamola not been denied by Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute.

AmaZulu had launched a ferocious attack into the Chiefs danger area when under-pressure defender Siyabonga Ngezana was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

But Lamola blasted his effort straight at the outstretched legs of the diving Khune, who was later, and deservedly so, named the man of the match.

For Chiefs coach Steve Komphela, this was another lost opportunity. It was his team's third successive draw in the league.

They fluffed the opportunity to shoot to the second spot in the league table. As a result, they are sitting in sixth place and have a lot of work to do to rekindle their title ambitions.

For large parts of the match, they were dominated by AmaZulu, even though they finished the better side as they went in search of a goal.

AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson will rue this missed opportunity, which could have seen them register their second win in three matches and move from position nine on the standings into the top eight.

The game's best chance came in the seventh minute but the hosts' attacker, Siyethemba Mnguni, blasted his close range shot straight at the alert Khune after he was released from the centre by Simphiwe Mtsweni.

Chiefs' first real chance to beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Boalefa Pule came in the 26th minute through Philani Zulu, who rushed his effort over the crossbar from a long cross by Bernard Parker.

He had not realised he had ample time to pick a spot and ram the ball home as he was unmarked on the edge of the box.

Minutes later, AmaZulu launched attacks of their own. But two quick close-range shots by Mnguni and Gumede were thwarted by Khune's double-reaction save.

AmaZulu remonstrated with the referee after the second shot, claiming the ball had crossed the line.

Television replays did not, however, give conclusive evidence that ball had crossed the line.

On the stroke of half-time, AmaZulu missed a golden opportunity when Chiefs debutant Teenage Hadebe cleared Gumede's shot off the line after Khune had misjudged Michael Morton's freekick in the box.

Pule made his first save of the match when he parried Gustavo Paez's close range header from close range just after the hour mark as Amakhosi pushed for the winner, which never came.

Other Absa Premiership action on Wednesday night saw Free State Stars and Chippa United drawing 1-all, the game between Polokwane City and Maritzburg United ending in a goalless draw, and both Platinum Stars and Bloemfontein Celtic failing to find the back of the net.