AmaZulu, Ajax draw
Posted: 14 February 2009 Time: 20:52
Ajax Cape Town's winless run of form continued when they were held to a 0-0 draw by AmaZulu in an Absa Premiership game played at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday evening.
The result sends the Cape outfit up into second position for the time being, but they still find themselves five points behind pace setters SuperSport United.
The reactions of Usuthu mentor Clive Barker told the story of the game – Barker celebrated wildly after his side has succeeded in weathering a final 15 minute onslaught to earn an important away point.
The opening stages of the game were relatively incident free as neither side were able to create clear-cut opportunities.
The match was confined to a midfield battle, with Ajax's Nhlanhla Shabalala doing his best to pull the strings from middle of the park, but despite spraying some good passes around, he was unable to unlock the AmaZulu defence.
The Urban Warriors had the first opportunity of the game in the 11th minute when Brett Evans lined up a free kick, but his effort struck the defensive wall.
In the 22nd minute Thulani Serero, a surprise starter in the team (brought in to replace Sifiso Vilakazi), looked to make his mark on the game when he found himself with a chance to shoot from the edge of the area, but he narrowly missed the target.
Usuthu hardly made an impression in the attacking third of the field and their first chance came in the 23rd minute when Dumisani Ngwenya let loose from 25-yards out, but his shot failed to force Ajax 'keeper Andre Petim into making a save.
The first real goalmouth action materialised in the 27th minute when Franklin Cale powered down the left wing before whipping in a dangerous cross.
AmaZulu defender Pere Ariweriyai got his foot to the ball and nearly deflected it into his own goal – fortunately for the visiting team, goal keeper Kalililo Kakonje was on hand to make a good reflex save.
Serero was guilty of missing the best chance of the half – Kakonje fumbled an Evans free kick in the 38th minute which gave the Ajax rookie striker an empty goal to aim at, but he fired over the bar from ten yards out.
The second half started in a similar vein to which much of the first half had gone, with chances few and far between as neither side produced the creative spark necessary to create goal scoring opportunities.
The first notable action came in the 60th minute when Cale produced a dangerous ball into the box.
Kakonje again failed to do his job and the ball fell out of his hands towards Serero, who, having gone to ground, was unable to recover and get the ball into the back of the net, with an empty goal at his mercy.
AmaZulu managed to exert some pressure on Ajax courtesy of a series of corner kicks, but the home side were not unduly troubled.
But it was at the other end of the field that a goal seemed more likely to materialise and in the 75th minute another great chance went to waste when substitute Cole Alexander was off target with a header, despite Kakonje having been caught in no-man's land.
Evans came close late on when his free kick from the left nearly caught Kakonje out, but in the end the ball sailed out of play.
The Cape Town side rallied hard in the dying minutes to try and force the win.
Dispy Selolwane was at the forefront with three shots in quick succession – the first was cleared off the line Kampamba Chintu, the second was blocked by Kakonje and the third deflected over the bar.
It pretty much summed up Craig Rosslee's side's evening – despite their best efforts nothing would fall for them in front of goal, forcing them to settle for a point from a game they should have won.