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Football | Absa Premiership

Anthony Laffor and Edward Manqele © Backpagepix

Sundowns, AmaZulu share spoils



Mamelodi Sundowns remained rooted to the bottom of the league standings after playing to a 1-1 draw with fellow Premiership strugglers AmaZulu in Atteridgeville on Wednesday evening.

Two late goals from Andile Khumalo and Anthony Laffor meant the bottom feeders shared the spoils in front of an empty Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Only a win for the Brazilians would have lifted them out of last place, but the former league champions were left frustrated by a defiant AmaZulu outfit.

After a quiet opening quarter, the hosts were in with the first real chance when Eleazar Rodgers was put through on goal in the 18th minute after some good work by Downs skipper Teko Modise in the middle of the pitch.

Rodgers, however, could not beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Philani Zikalala, who made a routine save to deny Rodgers, who should have done better with his close-range effort.

The visitors replied with a chance of their own six minutes later, as striker Ayanda Dlamini navigated his way into the box through some excellent skill, beating three defenders before Doctor Mampuru saved his side's blushes with a vital sliding tackle to remove the danger.

Usuthu were in with another opportunity 10 minutes before the break when Thokozani Mshengu picked up a loose ball in his opponents' half before finding un unmarked Tsweu Mokoro on the right flank. Mokoro whipped in a low pass across the 16-yard area to a free Dlamini, who had only the goalkeeper to beat, but he fired his first-time effort over Wayne Sandilands' goal as the scores remained level.

The Brazilians came out looking tentative in the second half, until Laffor saw his curled effort safely parried over the bar by Zikalala in the 51st minute, for the first promising chance of the half.

Laffor was in the thick of the action shortly after the opening opportunity, with a patient Sundowns build-up allowing the Liberian striker to hit a volley at goal, but his shot sailed harmlessly over the bar.

AmaZulu delivered a blow 13 minutes from time when the coastal outfit took the lead against the run of play after a defensive blunder from Sundowns' Clayton Daniels.

A speculative ball over the top took Daniels by surprise, and he let the long ball bounce, misjudging it and allowing Usuthu's Dlamini a clear route to goal.

Dlamini unselfishly passed to Khumalo, who followed up on the run from the striker and was left with a simple tap-in, with Sandilands stranded by Dlamini's simple pass.

The hosts replied with the equaliser four minutes from fulltime, when Laffor nudged a loose ball past Zikalala after a goalmouth scramble resulted in the striker picking up the ball inside the area and slotting home to level the scores.

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