Urban Warriors through to MTN8 final after edging Chiefs in thriller

2009-08-24 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Ajax Cape Town progressed to the final of the MTN8 after playing to a thrilling 3-3 draw with Kaizer Chiefs at Orlando Stadium yesterday afternoon in the semi-final second leg.

In an encounter that was an early contender for game of the season, Amakhosi put up a brave performance as they tried to recover from a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, but didn’t quite have enough to stop the Urban Warriors progressing 4-3 on aggregate.

The game began at a fearsome pace, with both sides more than prepared to throw numbers forward in attack. Ajax were on course to open the scoring as early as the sixth minute when a slick passing move involving Dipsy Selolwane and Sifiso Vilakazi set Thulani Serero up with a fantastic chance, but the youngster failed to test debutant Chiefs goalkeeper Kabelo Metsimetsi.

Ajax captain Brett Evans broke the deadlock on 12 minutes with a superb free kick that nestled in the top corner of the net. The strike seemingly put Ajax in a position of overwhelming dominance, but Chiefs fought back almost immediately, surging into a 2-1 lead.

Jose Torrealba equalised on 15 minutes when he chipped Hans Vonk after some good work by winger Mandla Masango. Just a minute later, Josta Dladla put Amakhosi ahead after sliding home an excellent pass from striker Nkosinathi Nhleko.

The Soweto side had a great chance to make it 3-1 in the 22nd minute when Vonk was caught off his line, but Abia Nale’s effort hit the crossbar.

The match turned again just past the half-hour mark when Punch Masenamela tripped up Selolwane and referee Buyile Gqubule pointed to the penalty spot. Evans stepped up for the spot kick and converted it for his second goal of the day.

Ajax should have put themselves into a lead on the stroke of half-time when they earned another penalty after Metsimetsi brought down Serero. However, Evans’s kick rebounded off the post and Chiefs cleared the danger.

The home side dominated the second half but struggled to find a way past a stubborn Ajax defence, bolstered by the introduction of Thulani Hlatshwayo at half-time. Needing two goals to put themselves back in the frame, Chiefs had to wait until the 81st minute for substitute Siphiwe Tshabalala to fire the ball between Vonk’s legs and set up the game for a barnstorming finish.

But Franklin Cale clearly hadn’t read the script, firing an 85th minute missile into the back of the net from all of 30 metres out to make it 3-3 on the day and kill off Chiefs’ hopes of defending their MTN8 title.

 

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