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