Ajax held by Team of Choice

Ajax Cape Town’s opening game of the season failed to yield maximum points as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Maritzburg United.

Maritzburg United got their return to the Premier Soccer League off to a positive start with a 1-1 draw against Ajax Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.

The KZN side just about did enough to deserve the draw and showed signs that under coach Gordon Igesund they will be no walk-overs this season.

A fairly evenly balanced start to the game saw both teams hitting the woodwork – first Brett Evans for Ajax struck the crossbar when he latched onto a poor clearance, and then Brice Aka saw his header rebound off the base of the upright; all in the opening 10 minutes.

The Urban Warriors began to press forward as they took the game to the visitors, and on two occasions, in the 14 th and 21st minutes, only last gasp tackles by the centre back pairing of Sylla Mbemba and Bageta Dikulu on Granwald Scott and Tasiu Mohammed respectively, stopped Ajax from profiting on clear-cut opportunities.

Just before the half hour mark Maritzburg keeper Athiel Mbaha had to move smartly to palm away Mabhuti Khenyeza’s powerful drive, which flew with some venom.

For the balance of the first stanza it was the home side were more industrious – Ajax keeper Sean Roberts was a virtual spectator during this period, while his counterpart Mbaha was kept slightly more busy.

However the closest the Cape Town outfit came to finding the net was when Scott’s 43 rd minute curler sailed just over the bar.

The early stages of the second half were a stop-start affair as fouls, injuries and substitutions interrupted the flow of the game.

It took until the 61 st minute was for the first piece of notable action, which arrived via Aka’s well-struck 25-yard shot, which flew narrowly over goal.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere the deadlock was broken in the 67 th minute as Ajax scored through Khenyeza.

While he struck his shot from a tight angle with some power, keeper Mbaha must take blame for making what amounted to a school-boy error in allowing the ball to go right through his hands at the near post.

But just three minutes later The Team of Choice had levelled the tie when Aka scored on his PSL debut, netting at the second attempt after Roberts had done well to save his initial effort.

Mohammed should have put Ajax back in front after 75 minutes, but shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

There was a late penalty appeal by Dipsy Selowane turned down, as well as a Clifford Ngobeni shot which was tipped over the bar, but at the end of the game Ajax never really did enough to justify a three point haul.


Ajax: Roberts, Allie, Ferreira, Carelse, Evans, Bisser (Ngobeni 52’), Doutie (Siwahla 57’), Shumana, Scott, Mohammed (Selowane 76’), Khenyeza

Maritzburg: Mbaha, Mashishi, Ngwepe, Mbemba (Goldstone 53’), Dikulu, Arwuah, Makoti, Mngomezulu, Ndlovu (Maselesele 71’), Tsabedze (Khanye 55’), Davids, Aka