Bucs and Urban Warriors play to a stalemate
Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates continued their poor run when they played a goalless draw in the Absa Premiership match at the Athlone Stadium on Tuesday night.
A draw for Ajax Cape Town, who were celebrating their 15th birthday on the night, leaves them 10th on the log with 23 points from 19 matches, while Orlando Pirates, who are without a win in three games, remain 7th on the log with 24 points from 15 matches.
Ajax Cape Town was without their captain Domenic Isaacs due to suspension and Aidan Jenniker replaced him at the back. Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Eric Tinkler made three changes to the side that lost to Polokwane City over the weekend with Daine Klate, Sifiso Myeni and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa back in the starting line-up.
It was a match that had chances few and far between in the opening stages, but the home side were dominating in the early exchanges, and they almost took the lead when Carl Lark tested Senzo Meyiwa with a long range shot in the 11th minute which the goalkeeper gathered with ease.
Five minutes later Daine Klate had a swinging cross in the area from the left but Aidan Jenniker did well to head the ball out for a corner. The visiting goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa had to be at his best in the 24th minute when he made a flying catch after Nathan Paulse rose in the box to head the ball on target after a cross on the right by Cecil Lolo as the Urban Warriors continued to threaten.
Orlando Pirates only gained momentum after the half-hour mark, and the visitors had a chance to hit their first shot on target nine minutes before the break when a low cross by Khetokhwakhe Masuku from the right went across the face of goal with Daine Klate failing to get to the end of the ball in the far post.
They were no clear cut chance onwards and the half ended 0-0 and the visitors had a lot to talk about during the break as they failed to hit a single shot on target while the home side had three.
The Buccaneers started the second half the best of the two sides and they had a long range from Thabo Matlaba deflected just wide of the post three minutes from the restart.
The visitors continued to pile pressure on the home side, and they came close again to take the lead when Oupa Manyisa unleashed a shot from over 25-yards out that looked destined for top corner but Anssi Jaakkola made a great catch, and it was a great save from the Finnish goalkeeper in the 69th minute.
Six minutes later, the home side were back in the game when Stello Ernesto crossed low from the left but his ball found no one to finish off before Cecil Lolo saw his shot go wide of Senzo Meyiwa’ left hand post few seconds later.
In the 80th minute, Bantu Mzwakali found Stello Ernesto in the area with a cross from the left, but the Mozambican winger shot wide from close range with a first-time shot. Five minutes later the home side were let off when Daine Klate’s shot from a rebound after Anssi Jaakkola made a save Joseph Maloangoane’ shot was cleared off the line by Thulane Hlatshwayo as the visitors looked dangerous again.
The Buccaneers had chances to steal the points in closing stages when they won two free-kicks in good areas but they didn’t make use of them as the match finished stalemate.
Ajax Cape Town: Jaakkola, Lolo, Allie, Hlatshwayo ©, Jenniker (Lebusa), Sangweni, Mobara, Ernesto, Dolly, Lark (Mzwakali 59’ (Scott 88’)), Paulse.
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Gcaba, Lekgathi ©, Matlaba, Masuku (Malongoane 70’), Ntshumayelo, Manyisa, Klate (Segolela 85’), Myeni, Erasmus ( Pelembe 60’).