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Athlone Stadium
27/08/2008 19:30

Ajax, Maritzburg open with draw

Posted: 27 August 2008 Time: 21:30

Ajax Cape Town and newly-promoted Maritzburg United have played out a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the 2008/09 Absa Premiership season at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Wednesday night.

It was a largely uninspiring affair, but the two goals did come within three frantic second half minutes as Mabhuti Khenyeza netted for the Urban Warriors, before Brice Aka found a quick response for the visitors.

In a quiet start to the game, Khenyeza had the first shot on goal after 26 minutes, but his effort from the right-hand side of the box was straight at Maritzburg goalkeeper Athiel Mbaha.

Ajax youngster Thulani Serero tried his luck from the edge of the area, but the leftback’s shot went high and wide, while Granwald Scott saw his effort blocked.

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The teams went into the halftime break level, but the visitors had failed to record a single shot on goal, and while Ajax were hardly prolific on that front either, they had the better of the opening period.

It took an hour for Maritzburg to register their first real shot and it came from their Ivorian import Aka, who put his effort over the bar.

Gordon Igesund’s side were having their best spell of the match and Fadlu Davids made a hash of a cross when well-placed and the danger was cleared, before Ghanaian John Arwauh put his shot wide.

But on 66 minutes the home side took the lead. Mfundo Shumana showed some neat skill in the penalty area to set up Khenyeza on the left and the former Kaizer Chiefs man expertly slammed the ball home.

The lead lasted just three minutes however, as Aka, on his competitive debut for Maritzburg, found an equaliser after a static Ajax defence failed to clear their lines, allowing the Ivorian time to fire past Sean Roberts.

The home side finished the stronger, with Shumana having the final effort on goal, but his shot was deflected over the bar.

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