Nzimande repays coach’s faith, but can’t break Ajax deadlock

2010-12-23 00:00

THE only afternoon game in the Absa Premiership yesterday ended in a 1-1 draw between Golden Arrows and Ajax Cape Town at the Chatsworth Stadium.

The first chance of the game went the way of Arrows, with midfielder Itumeleng Duiker forcing Hans Vonk into a sharp save with a shot from just outside the penalty area in the fourth minute.

On 17 minutes it was Helton Da Rocha’s turn to make a good stop, parrying Khama Billiat’s right-footed effort away from the danger area after the Ajax midfielder had found some space in the box.

Just past the midway point of the first half Clayton Daniels handled the ball outside the box, handing Arrows a free kick in a very useful attacking position. Defender Msekeli Mvalo took on the set piece but struck his effort just over Vonk’s crossbar.

On the half hour mark Ajax broke the deadlock. Forward Thulani Serero played in an inviting cross from the left flank and Billiat arrived late in the box to turn the ball home, handing the Urban Warriors a 1-0 lead.

Abafana Bes’thende almost struck back straight away, as Duiker headed just over the target from Siyabonga Nkosi’s 32nd minute free kick.

Both sides had good chances just before the break, but both Duiker (Arrows) and Sameehg Doutie (Ajax) pulled their efforts wide of goal to leave the score 1-0 in favour of the visitors at half time.

Abafana Bes’thende made a change at the break, withdrawing the ineffective Thamsanqa Gabuza and replacing him with youngster Sphesihle Nzimande.

The 19-year-old repaid his coach’s faith in him by bringing the hosts level on the hour mark, heading home the equaliser from a free kick by Thamsanqa Mkhize.

After drawing level, the KwaZulu-Natal team began to play with more confidence and looked the likelier scorers in the last quarter of the game.

On 76 minutes substitute Nkanyiso Mlotshwa arrived at the far post to meet Nzimande’s cross but was unable to direct his header on goal.

Ajax themselves had a few chances to retake the lead but were unable to capitalise on them.

One such example saw Lebogang Manyama denied by Da Rocha in the 83rd minute.

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