Ajax Cape Town held by 10-man Maritzburg

Ajax Cape Town were held to a goalless draw by a 10-man Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership match at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.

Despite dominating most of the match and playing the last 20 minutes with an extra player after the visitors had defender David Booysen sent off for his second bookable offence, the Urban Warriors were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

Ajax settled the quicker of the two teams and began to dominate the match. However, they were unable to create any clear-cut chances from which to test goalkeeper Virgil Vries.

The goal-minder was called upon midway through the first half to parry away a good cross from Milton Ncube that would otherwise had found the head of Nathan Paulse and in all likelihood ended in an Ajax goal.

Maritzburg offered a sporadic threat on the counter attack and from set pieces. Perhaps their best chance arrived just after the half hour mark, with striker Terrence Mandaza given a sight of goal, only to shoot straight at Anssi Jaakkola.

Ajax suffered a blow to their defence when young Bafana Bafana centre-back Rivaldo Coetzee had to be withdrawn due to injury in the 40th minute. Aidan Jenniker replaced the 18-year-old.

The visitors almost claimed the lead early in the second half through Ghanaian defender John Paintsil, who hit the top of the crossbar with a header from a set piece. Ajax winger Bantu Mzwakali then showed some great skill and speed to create a chance for himself in the 56th minute, but he only managed to shoot straight at Vries.

Seven minutes later the aerial power of Paulse nearly broke the deadlock, with the striker providing a towering header from a hopeful long ball out of Ajax’s defence that almost looped into the goal, but ended up nestling on the top of the net.

By this stage the Urban Warriors were well on top and they were given a further boost when the Team of Choice was reduced to 10 men – defender David Booysen picked up his second yellow card in the 70th minute and was sent off for an early shower.

On 81 minutes Ajax substitute Clifford Mulenga almost produced wonder long range goal, but his left-footed shot from 25 metres out drifted just wide of Vries’ left-hand post.

The result sees the Cape side move back into second place on the Absa Premiership log, 11 points adrift of leaders Kaizer Chiefs. Maritzburg move up to third, just one point behind Ajax. Both teams could be shifted from their positions depending on results in Sunday’s matches.

Ajax Cape Town 0

Maritzburg United 0

Ajax: Jaakkola, Allie, Mobara, Coetzee (Jenniker 40’), Lolo, Ncube, Scott, Morris, Mzwakali (Ngalande 82’), Nkoana (Mulenga 55’), Paulse

Maritzburg: Vries, Mabaso, Paintsil, Booysen, Banda, Cele (De Jong 77’), Vilakazi, Mkhize (Mngonyama 66’), Sekotlong, Hartog, Mandaza (Anas 66’)