AmaZulu, Ajax limp to dull, goalless draw

2014-08-11 00:00

IT was a gloomy afternoon in Durban yesterday, and the football was just as dull as AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town limped to a goalless draw in their first PSL fixture of the season.

Visiting coach Roger de Sa would have been happier than his opposite number Craig Rosslee with the point after AmaZulu emerged the better of the two sides, but with nothing to show for it.

There was an air of familiarity about Rosslee’s starting 11. Tapuwa Kapini was back in goal, Carlington Nyadombo marshalled the defence wearing the captain’s armband, Kulegani Madondo sat in holding midfield while Bongani Ndulula was the target man up front.

But the real shining light for the home side was right winger and new signing Philani Shange, who arrived from Golden Arrows in the off-season. With a skilful set of feet and an impressive burst of pace, Shange provided the most trouble for an Ajax defence that scrambled through the 90 minutes to get by unscathed.

AmaZulu didn’t do themselves any favours. Whenever it appeared that a clear-cut chance had been manufactured, a shot was scuffed or a final pass miscued or, in some instances, ignored. Nobody was guiltier than attacking midfielder Ruzaigh Gamaldien, whose header in the 71st minute was one of two fantastic chances to win the game. After a cross from the right had bounced over the Ajax defence, Gamaldien found himself unmarked at the back post, but his header looped harmlessly over Ajax goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola’s crossbar.

AmaZulu’s other real chance came in the closing stages of the first half. A fantastic back heel from the menacing Shange had created an opening for right back Bongi Macala, but the defender stabbed his effort wide and to the right when a pass to the open Ndalula may have been a better option.

Just 10 minutes into the second half Jaakkola handled the ball outside of his area and Usuthu were given a free kick just outside the box. The execution was as confusing as it was poor, and after three players had played their part in the set piece, Gamaldien eventually scuffed his shot harmlessly into the wall of Ajax defenders.

It was a match that AmaZulu could have won, but a bore draw was perhaps just reward for what was a poor advertisement for South African football.

Usuthu must now dust themselves off for a trip to high-flying Moroka Swallows in Soweto on Wednesday night.

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