Ajax's relegation fight goes to the wire

Maritzburg United and Ajax Cape Town earned a point each when their Absa Premiership encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Orlando Smeekes opened the scoring for the hosts midway through the first half before Mabhuti Khenyeza found the equaliser for the Cape side in the second half.

The first chance fell for the hosts in the in the 8th minute when Ruben Cloete delivered a cross from the left to find Smeekes at the far post, but he sent his header over the target.

However, Smeekes made up for his miss just in the 29th minute when he collected a pass from Cuthbert Malajila inside the box before chipping the ball over Sander Westerveld to hand his side the lead.

The Urban Warriors had a few chances to level matters late in the first half but Mabhuti Khenyeza fired straight at Shu-aib Walters in the 31st minute before the United captain smothered another effort from Thato Mokeke a minute later.

Then on the stroke of halftime Khama Billiat evaded his marker before drilling the ball in from the edge of the area, but Walters produced a good save to turn the ball wide of the post, keeping his side in the lead at halftime.

Three minutes into the second half a defensive error from Matthew Booth allowed Smeekes to have another effort on target, but this time around Westerveld was positioned well to make the save.

In the 54th minute Malajila attacked an outswinging cross from Dillon Sheppard just inside the penalty area, but he got his direction wrong and sent his header wide of the upright.

Four minutes later Smeekes managed to get his freekick on target after Delron Buckley was brought down by Aidan Jenniker, but Westerveld was equal to the task.

The visitors eventually found the equaliser in the 65th minute when Khenyeza finished with a simple tap-in after Walters was unable to hold on to a shot from Lebogang Manyama.

Mandaza then went on a powerful run in the 77th minute before unleashing a shot from just outside the box, but his effort went wide of the upright as both sides went on to claim a share of the spoils.

Maritzburg United move up to 10th place with 36 points from 29 matches, while Ajax remain in 14th place with 28 points.

Maritzburg United (1) 1 (Smeekes 29’)
Ajax Cape Town (0) 1 (Khenyeza 65’)


Maritzburg United: Walters, Cloete, Awal, Booysen M, Evans, Morton, Buckley, Smeekes (Isaacks 69’), Sheppard, Mandaza, Malajila

Ajax Cape Town: Westerveld, Lolo, Booth, Jenniker, Davids, Billiat, Losper (Dolly 88’), Manyama, Khenyeza, Wanderson (Rusike 57’) (Shabalala 69’), Mokeke