Absa Premiership

Ajax hold Free State Stars to goalless draw

2018-01-26 22:33
Luc Eymael (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Free State Stars were forced to settle for a goalless draw away to Ajax Cape Town at a windy Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.

Yannick Zakri made his Ajax debut and looked lively in parts throughout this tie as Nhlanhla Vilakazi struck the crossbar for Stars in a game that ultimately ended goalless.

It was a relatively slow start to this Absa Premiership encounter in difficult conditions in the Mother City.

Tercious Malepe was first to get a shot away for the Urban Warriors but Ea Lla Koto goalkeeper Badra Sangare was on hand to deal with the long-range effort.

Recent SuperSport United loan signing, Fagrie Lakay, who has already scored for Ajax, was again looking lively and beat his man on 16 minutes before feeding debutant Zakri, however, he was unable to turn his effort on goal.

Rooi Mahamutsa was then forced to clear after Zakri beat Brandon Petersen with a 26th minute shot, but not the retreating defender.

Zakri was again on the ball in an advanced position, with the half winding down, but pulled his shot wide of the target.

Samuel Julies was replaced by Tashreeq Morris at half time with 69 minutes as Ajax looked for better penetration in the second half.

And it was Morris with the first best effort of the second period with a long range effort that flew well wide of the target, when he has better passing options available.

Lakay floated in an excellent corner but Zakri shot over the crossbar when well placed on 58 minutes before Zakri looked to make amends for his miss with a superb run, but ultimately had to settle for a corner that Ajax failed to take advantage of minutes later.

Thabo Maphakisa came on for Tebogo Potsane just after the hour mark as head coach Luc Eymael looked to effect the outcome, ahead of a change for Ajax as Malepe made way for Ndiviwe Mdabuka.

Mohammed Anas replaced Sinethemba Jantjie just moments after a superb Nhlanhla Vilakazi curler that hit the Ajax crossbar with Petersen beaten, as the home side then came close to an opener with a shot on 78 minutes that hit the side-netting

Morris then fired wide on the turn after some good build up play ahead of a final change for Stars that saw Katlego Mashego come on for Siphelele Mthembu.

Both sides tried in vain for a winner in the dying moments but ultimately settled for a point, with Ajax moving onto 17 points, but remaining in 15th place, while Stars remained in fourth place, but with 29 points.

Fifth-placed Maritzburg United were held to a 1-1 draw with Chippa United, who moved up one place from eighth to seventh.

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
Ajax Cape Town v Baroka FC, Athlone Stadium 19:30
Bloemfontein Celtic v Chippa United, Dr Molemela Stadium 19:30
Golden Arrows v Kaizer Chiefs, Princess Magogo Stadium 19:30
Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Maritzburg United v Mamelodi Sundowns, Harry Gwala Stadium 19:30
SuperSport United v Free State Stars, Lucas Moripe Stadium 19:30
Polokwane City v Cape Town City FC, Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 19:30
Orlando Pirates v Wits, Orlando Stadium 19:30
Platinum Stars v AmaZulu FC, Royal Bafokeng Stadium 19:30
Saturday, 28 April 2018
Wits v AmaZulu FC, Bidvest Stadium 15:00
Cape Town City FC v Orlando Pirates, Cape Town Stadium 15:00
Kaizer Chiefs v Maritzburg United, FNB Stadium 15:00
Free State Stars v Polokwane City, Goble Park 15:00
Mamelodi Sundowns v Ajax Cape Town, Lucas Moripe Stadium 15:00
Baroka FC v Bloemfontein Celtic, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:00
Golden Arrows v Platinum Stars, Princess Magogo Stadium 15:00
Chippa United v SuperSport United, Sisa Dukashe Stadium 15:00
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