Cape Town - A last minute penalty by Nathan Paulse saw Ajax Cape Town
snatch a point after a 2-2 draw at the Cape Town Stadium against an enterprising
Bloemfontein Celtic side in the first Absa Premiership match of 2016.
Visiting side Bloemfontein Celtic settled down quicker and
looked the better side for much of the first half. It was no surprise when Vusi
Shikweni found space and volleyed at goal for the first chance of the game
inside the first minute.
Then, six minutes into the game and the swirling wind made a
contribution when a swerving Toriq Losper cross put pressure on Celtic
goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb but even though he fumbled the ball, Ajax could not
Then Celtic suffered a blow when Mthokozisi Dube had to be
taken off on a stretcher after falling awkwardly onto his elbow, in what seemed
like a dislocated shoulder injury, and he had to be replaced by Aphiwe Lubisi.
Celtic took the lead off the boot of Malawian striker Frank
Mhango in the 21st minute. The chance arrived following some clever attacking
work from Lerato Lamola and Thapelo Morena in the build-up, but when the ball
landed at the feet of Mhango, he made no mistake with a first time shot past
Anssi Jaakkola in goals.
Celtic kept the pressure on Ajax and pushed hard for a
second goal and they had the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out
In the 35th minute, Mhango was put through on goal and
should have put his side 2-0 up, but he somehow failed in his attempt at goal.
In the second half, Celtic had another very good chance to
go further into the lead in the 53rd minute. But Morena, despite having plenty
of time and space, took too long to fire at goal and Abbubakar Mobara got back
to make a crucial tackle.
Ajax made an early second half change and brought on Nathan
Paulse who immediately made a difference as the home side started knocking long
balls into the Celtic defence to find Paulse.
Just after the hour mark Ajax were back in the match when
Losper cut inside from the right wing and fired a left footed shot to the near
post, which beat Tignyemb.
But Celtic again grabbed the lead through the pacey and
tricky Thapelo Morena who burst through the Ajax defence and placed his shot
past Jaakkola following Lamola’s through ball.
Then in the final minute of the game Musa Bilankulu made
contact with Losper’s leg inside the 18 area even though it was not malicious,
and Losper went down and a penalty was awarded. Nathan Paulse made no mistake.