/ 21 August 2011

Chiefs and Ajax in lacklustre draw

Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening in a match that provided only sporadic flashes of entertainment.

Tactics ruled the day in Nasrec as both sides started off tentatively.

As it was their home game, Chiefs did not want to concede the crucial away goal. Ajax will be more content with a draw as they would bank on a home win in the Cape — where Amakhosi and most Gauteng teams struggle to achieve favourable results.

Chiefs failed to display the good form shown in their midweek 2-0 Premiership win over Moroka Swallows.

Apart from the promising run and cross on the left channel from striker Bernard Parker in the opening minutes, the Bafana Bafana player was hardly noticeable before being substituted after the hour mark for winger Mandla Masango.

Ajax found a weakness in Keegan Ritchie and his lack of pace on Chiefs’s left side with Zimbabwean Khama Billiat probing the youngster at every opportunity.

Apart from Siphiwe Tshabalala’s ambitious effort in the opening minutes, the home team’s best chance of the first half came from a Josta Dladla free kick taken just outside the box in the 22nd minute that needed Ajax goalkeeper Sean Roberts to tip over the goalposts.

Right-back Jimmy Tau made a run on the right, beating a defender before forcing Roberts to make a save on his left post.

Ajax were a threat on the counterattack with the pace of Billiat, who caught Tefu Mashamaite napping as he slipped behind the defender to connect with midfielder Lebogang Manyama’s cross on right.

Billiat’s final effort, however, was too sloppy as Chiefs’ keeper Itumeleng Khune easily collected it.

The second-half started without fanfare as the visitors looked at securing a stalemate.

The match finally came to life in the final 30 minutes after the introduction of Masango for the hosts. From a counter in the 71st minute, he raced down the field with a ball before defender Clayton Daniels came to Ajax’s rescue as he cleared the youngster’s effort off the goal line.

Ajax managed to break forward against the run of play with nine minutes to go with Manyama’s shot being saved by Khune.

The pacy Billiat also found a chance but hooked his shot wide in the box as he nearly stole it in the dying minutes for the Urban Warriors.

The second semifinal of the competition sees Orlando Pirates take on Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon. – Sapa