Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town returned to
second place on the Absa Premiership log after playing to a 0-0 draw with
Maritzburg United at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Urban Warriors were the better team
through the match and played the last 20 minutes with a man’s advantage, but
were unable to find a way through a determined Team of Choice.
The result sees Ajax and United move up to
second and third on the log respectively, but they could lose those positions
depending on results in Sunday’s two league matches.
Ajax settled the quicker of the two teams
and began to dominate the match. However, they were unable to create any
clear-cut chances from which to test goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
The goal-minder was called upon midway
through the first half to parry away a good cross from Milton Ncube that would
otherwise had found the head of Nathan Paulse and in all likelihood ended in an
Maritzburg offered a sporadic threat on the
counter attack and from set pieces. Perhaps their best chance arrived just after
the half hour mark, with striker Terrence Mandaza given a sight of goal, only
to shoot straight at Anssi Jaakkola.
Ajax suffered a blow to their defence when
young Bafana Bafana centre-back Rivaldo Coetzee had to be withdrawn due to
injury in the 40th minute. Aidan Jenniker replaced the 18-year-old.
The visitors almost claimed the lead early
in the second half through Ghanaian defender John Paintsil, who hit the top of
the crossbar with a header from a set piece. Ajax winger Bantu Mzwakali then
showed some great skill and speed to create a chance for himself in the 56th
minute, but he only managed to shoot straight at Vries.
Seven minutes later the aerial power of
Paulse nearly broke the deadlock, with the striker providing a towering header
from a hopeful long ball out of Ajax’s defence that almost looped into the
goal, but ended up nestling on the top of the net.
By this stage the Urban Warriors were well
on top and they were given a further boost when the Team of Choice was reduced
to 10 men - defender David Booysen picked up his second yellow card in the 70th
minute and was sent off for an early shower.
On 81 minutes Ajax substitute Clifford
Mulenga almost produced wonder long range goal, but his left-footed shot from
25 metres out drifted just wide of Vries’ left-hand post.