Usuthu Holds Sundowns To Thrilling Draw In Durban
In a thrilling draw that saw AmaZulu fight back after initially falling behind, Bongani Zungu scored his first league goal for Mamelodi Sundowns in a decade while Peter Shalulile netted his 12th goal of the season. However, despite the two goals, Sundowns failed to secure a win as Usuthu fought back to tie the game 2-2 at Princess Magogo Stadium on Wednesday night.
Sundowns started off strong and controlled the game for most of the first half and into the second. As they probed and tried to open up Amazulu’s defense, it was Zungu, an unlikely source, who scored the first goal of the game in the 26th minute, his first league goal since 2013. The midfielder was set up by Gaston Sirino after Rally Bwalwa was dispossessed in his own half.
Sundowns continued to press, and in the 58th minute, league top scorer Shalulile scored the second goal, blasting the ball with his left foot to the far corner after some impressive inter-passing.
However, Usuthu was not ready to give up, and Ramahlwe Mphahlele, the former Sundowns captain, scored in the 74th minute to bring them back into the game. Junior Dion then scored an incredible goal to level the match, completing the comeback for Usuthu.
The draw does not help Sundowns in their quest to match their record of 71 points earned in the 2015/16 season under legendary coach Pitso Mosimane. They currently sit at 66 points after 28 matches and will need to win both of their remaining games to break that record.
Despite the draw, Sundowns demonstrated once again their dominance this season, having won the league with seven games to spare. Coach Rulani Mokwena gave some players a chance to shine, including Rushine de Reuck, Mosa Lebusa, Terrence Mashego, Ntando Nkosi, Zungu, and Lebohang Maboe. The Tshwane giants’ selection was due to their upcoming clash against Wydad Casablanca in the CAF Champions League semi-finals, prompting them to rejig the team.
In the end, the game showcased Sundowns’ ability to control the proceedings, with Themba Zwane at the heart of the team’s carousel passing in the attacking areas. However, the game also demonstrated Usuthu’s resilience and fighting spirit, as they fought back to secure a draw against one of the best teams in the league.