Ajax, Pirates fire blanks
Nathan Paulse (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town were not able to use home ground advantage to beat Orlando Pirates as they could only record a 0-0 draw during their PSL match at Athlone Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Bucs goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa did brilliantly to keep the home team at bay, while Eric Tinkler’s side struggled to really test the Ajax goalkeeper.
Both Ajax and Pirates came into the game looking to undo the wrongs which saw them both suffer defeats in their league games on the weekend.
Pirates fell to a 1-0 defeat to Polokwane City, while the Urban Warriors, who were without skipper Dominic Isaacs at Athlone Stadium, had sustained a 3-2 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns.
The first important save on the evening came in the ninth minute when Senzo Meyiwa rushed off his line. Keagan Dolly supplied a dangerous ball into the box and it forced the Pirates man to run off his line and beat the onrushing Nathan Paulse to the ball.
Ajax were exposing Pirates on the right flank through the use of Cecil Lolo and Abbubaker Mobara, and it was the latter’s cross four minutes later which forced Lucky Lekgwathi to make a crucial interception in the box.
It could have been 1-0 to the home side in the 24th minute. Paulse struck a powerful glancing header, which forced Meyiwa to pluck it and drop to the ground. It was a great effort not to let the ball cross the line.
The first attempt at goal that didn’t hit the target for Ajax arrived ten minutes later when Thamsanqa Sangweni failed to make use of the attempt.
Khethowakhe Masuku then spotted Daine Klate bursting in at the far post, but his long cross into the box agonizingly failed to find Klate.
Pirates were the ones to come out with more energy and vigour at the restart and it was Thabo Matlaba’s snapshot which saw Anssi Jaakkola scramble for the ball as it took a deflection en-route to the near post.
Pirates had gone a whole hour without hitting the target once but when they finally did it was Helder Pelembe who forced Jaakkola to be aware with his long-range shot.
In the closing stages of the game Ajax were throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, to get the match-winning strike and it was Telinho who put an effort wide of the near post.
However, it was the Buccaneers who came the closest to scoring five minutes from time when Hlatshwayo pulled off an exceptional overhead defensive clearance to deny Klate the goal. Teams:Ajax Cape Town:
Jaakkola, Lolo, Allie, Hlatshwayo, Jenniker (Lebusa 71’), Mobara, Telinho, Sangweni, Lark (Mzawkali 59’ (Scott 88’)), Paulse, Dolly Orlando Pirates:
Meyiwa, Lekgwathi, Matlaba, Jele, Gcaba, Erasmus (Pelembe 60’), Masuku (Malongoane 70’), Manyisa, Myeni, Klate (Segolela 86’), Ntshumayelo