Ajax held by Stars, Maritzburg throw away a lead in draw against Chippa

Yannick Zakri of Ajax Cape Town evades challenge from Bangaly Keita of Free State Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Ajax and Free State Stars at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town on 26 January 2018.
Yannick Zakri of Ajax Cape Town evades challenge from Bangaly Keita of Free State Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Ajax and Free State Stars at Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town on 26 January 2018.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Yannick Zakri made his debut for Ajax Cape Town, but there would be no fairytale goal as the Premier Soccer League strugglers were held to a 0-0 draw by Free State Stars at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday.

The match was played in very windy conditions and chances were at a premium, though Stars will go away the happier side with the point and remain in fourth in the league.

Ajax are second from bottom still, and have also played a game more than their fellow relegation candidates.

The Urban Warriors were without striker Tendai Ndoro after his registration was called into question with the news that it might have fallen foul of FIFA regulations.

Players cannot feature for three clubs in one season, yet Ndoro has played matches for former clubs Orlando Pirates and Al-Faisaly from Saudi Arabia, and Ajax in this campaign.

Instead Zakri was handed a debut, while midfielder Grant Margeman made a return after six weeks on the sidelines.

There was little in the way of clear-cut chances in the first half, the best falling to Zakri when a mix-up between Stars goalkeeper Ali Sangare and his defence allowed the Ivorian to nip in and poke the ball towards goal, but for the gloveman to make a desperate stop.

Zakri earlier had another chance when he was fed from the right-hand side by Fagrie Lakay, but couldn’t steer his shot on target.

The same two players combined in the second half too as Lakay’s corner was met at the near post by Zakri, but he skied his volley over the bar.

Stars had a rare raid into the Ajax box just past the hour-mark, but Siphelele Mthembu could not force the ball home when home goalkeeper Brandon Petersen failed to collect a low cross.  

Former Ajax midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi then went even closer when the home defenders stood off him and he curled a 30-yard shot onto the crossbar.

At the other end, Sirgio Kammies’ cross just eluded Yagan Sasman at the back post with the goal gaping.

The final chance fell to Lakay, whose turn saw him in space on the edge of the box, but he fired his shot well wide of the goal.

Next up for Ajax is a home meeting with Orlando Pirates on Wednesday, while Stars are at home to Baroka FC next Saturday.

In another Absa Premiership match played at the Harry Gwala Stadium, the home side threw away a lead in a 1-1 draw against Chippa United. 

Zimbabwean striker Evans Rusike put United ahead in the 64th minute for his 7th league goal of the season but the home side's lead lasted just six minutes as Mxolisi Macuphu equalized for the visitors.

PSL Weekend results:

Friday, 26 January 2016:

Ajax Cape Town 0 - 0 Free State Stars

Maritzburg United 1 - 1 Chippa United 

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