Orlando Pirates’ winless streak continued with a 2-all draw against struggling Ajax Cape Town at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night
With both Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates fighting to get maximum points out of this clash, both teams started with pace, but lacked accuracy as they couldn’t trouble the keepers in the first five minutes of the game.
The Urban Warriors however, took the lead in the 7th minute through Abia Nale who scored with a clinical finish after a splitting pass from Khama Billiat.
Pirates looked for an early equalizer and Thabo Matlaba found himself inside the Ajax box in the 12th minute, but Cecil Lolo recovered well to clear the ball off Matlaba’s feet for a corner.
The visitors dominated possession in the middle of the park, but failed to connect with their strikers in the final third. Pirates won the free-kick outside the Ajax box in the 20th minute, but Kethokwakhe Masuku squandered the opportunity, as his free-kick sailed over the bar.
Nale and Khama Billiat always troubled the Pirates defence with their pace and Nale nearly doubled the lead in the 23rd minute, but Lucky Lekgwathi did well to block his shot for a corner.
Happy Jele almost equalized for the visitors in the 32nd minute, but his header flew well over the bar.
Abia Nale should have done better towards the end of the first half when he received the ball on the left hand side and entered the Pirates box, but went for glory with his teammates unmarked in the box.
Takesure Chinyama blasted his shot against the crossbar on the stroke of halftime with the Ajax keeper Sander Westerveld in no man’s land and Ajax defended desperately to clear the ball to safety, as they held on to their 1-0 lead going into the second half.
Roger De Sa immediately substituted Onyekachi Okonkwo for Mpho Makola at the beginning of the second half and pushed forward for that important goal, but it was Ajax who should have doubled the lead in the 47th minute when Billiat beat all Pirates defenders and found himself one on one with Senzo Meyiwa, but the Zimbabwean ballooned his shot way over the bar.
The visitors finally got their equalizer in the 49th minute through Takesure Chinyama who headed from a corner to the delight of the Pirates’ fans.
Billiat missed another clear-cut chance to restore the Ajax lead a few moments later with Siyabonga Sangweni keeping a close eye on him.
Pirates then got their second of the match through substitute Mpho Makola who finished with confidence in the 54th minute, after Chinyama’s shot came off the upright.
Ajax never gave up and attacked from the wings with Nale and Billiat doing well to trouble the Pirates full-backs, and they were finally rewarded with a goal in the 60th minute when Lebogang Manyama played Toriq Losper through for a superb finish.
Both teams played an opening game, although Ajax allowed their opponents to come to them, as they had 10 men behind the ball with Nale their only player upfront.
Ajax Cape Town failed to capitalize on Pirates mistakes and should have at least got two goals towards the end of the game with Billiat the main culprit, as he got at least six chances the entire game.
However, Ajax will be happy with a point against Pirates and the visitors will surely be disappointed as the league title is slowly slipping away from them.