Ajax grab late goal to earn draw
Urban Warriors fight right to the end after Chippa United go 1-0 up
A goal from Krahire Zakri in the dying minutes of the match salvaged a point for Ajax Cape Town against Chippa United in an Absa Premiership game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
It was a rather pedestrian opening 25 minutes with neither side really able to create any significant goalscoring chances.
In fact, the first real effort on goal only came in the 28th minute when Mark Mayambela fired a 30-yard free-kick inches wide of the Ajax target.
Just after the half-hour mark the Urban Warriors fashioned their first scoring chance when Zakri beat two defenders on his way into the box, but saw his close-range effort cleared off the line by Paseka Mako.
Mako then nearly gave Ajax the lead in the 40th minute when he let fly from long range, but saw his shot strike the crossbar.
Eight minutes into the second half Chippa took the lead when Mxolisi Macuphu turned home a corner from Thabo Rakhale.
Ajax tried to hit back and came close in the 70th minute when Tashreeq Morris played Morne Nel through on goal, but he fired his shot from close range over the target with just the keeper to beat.
The Urban Warriors continued to push forward and were finally rewarded in the 90th minute when a defensive error allowed Zakri space and time on the ball inside the box, and he made no mistake from close range to ensure the teams shared the spoils.
Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs finally halted their slide into oblivion when they beat relegation-threatened Platinum Stars 1-0 at the FNB Stadium in Soweto yesterday afternoon.
Man of the match Hendrick Ekstein put a smile of relief on coach Steve Komphela’s face early in the second half when he beat Stars goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela with a powerful shot in the 49th minute.
The victory could not have come at a better time for Komphela as Chiefs face Free State Stars at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night in a Nedbank Cup semifinal clash that the beleaguered coach will be desperate to win if the club is to avoid a third season without winning a trophy.
In another fixture, Orlando Pirates avoided another draw, beating AmaZulu 2-1 at King Zwelithini yesterday and putting the pressure on the log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Buccaneers had to come from behind for the all-important win, with the winner coming 10 minutes from time.
Mabhuti Khenyeza put the home side in the lead after just ten minutes, but Musa Nyatama headed home the equaliser after half an hour.
Pirates could not afford another stalemate, having already played 10 draws this season and they had Thabo Qalinge to thank for the goal that separated the two sides.
They are now three points behind Sundowns with three matches to go, which gives them a fighting chance.
Sundowns, though, have a game in hand.