Super Eagles keeper Daniel Akpeyi was impressive as Kaizer Chiefs saw their winless run extended to four matches in the DStv Premiership after salvaging a point at AmaZulu on Saturday afternoon.
Stuart Baxter handed recalls to Njabulo Ngcobo and Austin Dube while Phathutshedzo Nange was back in the side after missing the draw with Maruo Gallants through injury.
After a relatively quiet start, Chiefs should have been ahead on 20 minutes after some neat passing ended with Khama Billiat playing in Keagan Dolly who was denied by Veli Mothwa in the box.
Usuthu were presented with their first opening seven minutes later after Dube’s failed clearance landed at the feet of Sandile Khumalo in the box, but Akpeyi got down well to keep out the defender’s strike.
The former Chippa United shot stopper was once again called to duty with another save.
With the game opening up a bit more in the closing stages of the first half, Mothwa was proving his worth after denying Bernard Parker and Billiat with some impressive saves.
Benni McCarthy responded with one change at the start of the second half as Thabo Qalinge repalced Matarr Ceesay on the left flank.
Usuthu got their reward two minutes after the restart as Luvuyo Memela got on the end of Keagan Buchanan’s header before calmly slotting past Akpeyi for his first goal of the season.
The busy Akpeyi pulled off another save to keep the visitors in the game.
While Baxter had no immediate desire to make substituttions, McCarthy withdrew Bongninkosi Ntuli for Xola Mlambo as he looked to bolster the midfield in the closing stages.
With time running out, Baxter opted for his first change on 80 minutes as Lebogang Manyama replaced Cole Alexander before Ngcobo made way for Happy Mashiane two minutes later.
Chiefs were given a lifeline in the final minute of time added on after being awarded a penalty for an apparent handball in the box after consultation with the assistant. Despite all the appeals, Dolly stepped up and converted the spot-kick to salvage a point for Chiefs.