Ajax grind out draw in Tshwane

The University of Pretoria and Ajax Cape Town played to goalless draw in an Absa Premiership game at Tuks Stadium on Saturday evening.

A terrific display by Anssi Jaakkola in dismal conditions earned the Urban Warriors a hard-fought point.

AmaTuks coach Steve Barker made no changes to the side that beat Golden Arrows 2-0, with Atusaye Nyondo and Geofrey Massa continuing their partnership in attack.

Muhsin Ertugral, on the other hand, made two changes to the side that beat Free State Stars in midweek. Thato Mokeke and Lance Davids who were used as substitutes in the game versus Ea Lla Koto started from the onset in place of Aidan Jenniker and Abbubaker Mobara.

The game got off to a tragic start as Geofrey Massa and Thulani Hlatshwayo had to be stretchered after a terrible clash of heads.

The injury coupled with the stormy weather seemed to have an effect on the players as both teams were slow out of the blocks.

The first opportunity of the encounter fell the way of Tuks in the 20th minute. Charly Moussono-Moussono found an unmarked Khethukuthula Zwane inside the area, but the winger was unable to nod past Anssi Jaakkola who was well positioned at his near post.

Nathan Paulse should’ve given the visitors the lead in the 41st minute. Cecil Lolo’s played a pinpoint cross into the area, but the former SuperSport United forward could only manage to sky his effort over the bar from point-black range.

Paulse and the Urban Warriors were nearly punished for missing the effort straight away, but Jaakkola denied Lucky Mathosi’s effort at goal.

The terrible weather conditions in the first stanza, which included a short spell of hail had a huge effect on the quality football out on the pitch.

Subsequently the first half ended goalless.

Jaakola pulled off a wonderful close range save nine minutes into the second half.

Zwane’s corner-kick was met powerfully by Buhle Mkhwanazi’s, but the Finnish keeper somehow kept the ball out of the back of the net.

The former Siena shot-stopper was again on hand to deny Tuks the lead in the 69th min, diving to his right to deny Siyabonga Ngubane.

Jaakola looked unbeatable as he produced an excellent reflex save six minutes later. Atusaye Nyondo looked certain to score but Jaakola has other ideas.

Both teams piled forward in search of the winning goal in the final minutes but both defences held firm.

The draw moves Tuks into ninth position on the log while Ajax remain 14th.

University of Pretoria (0) 0

Ajax Cape Town (0) 0


University of Pretoria: Arubi; Ngubane, Kekana, Mkhwanazi, Moussono-Moussono, Shoyisa, Matsi, Mosadi, Zwane, Massa (Mathosi 6’), Nyondo (Maruping 87’)

Ajax Cape Town: Jaakkola; Lolo (Shabalala69’), Hlatshwayo (Krjauklis 8’), Isaacs, Mokeke, Davids, Mzwakali (Losper 61’), Alexander, Paulse, Manyama, Ernesto