Soweto - Kaizer Chiefs have now gone five Absa Premiership matches without a victory after being held 0-0 by Ajax Cape Town at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
The result mathematically confirms that Amakhosi cannot catch league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and officially brings about the end of their reign as champions.
The first half an hour of play saw little action, with Chiefs dominating possession but Ajax managed to crowd them out in midfield and ensured they had no real sight of Anssi Jaakkola’s goal. However, on 30 minutes the goalkeeper was finally called upon to keep out a long range effort from Willard Katsande.
That signalled the start of a period of major pressure from Chiefs, with Siphiwe Tshabalala superbly denied by Jaakkola a few minutes later before Bernard Parker shot wide from a good opportunity as the Amakhosi’s speed of passing and running began to overwhelm the visitors.
Chiefs’ best chance arrived just before the break when Parker played a perfectly weighted pass to put William Twala in on goal, but the winger’s low shot was blocked by the legs of Jaakkola, who was easily the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Ajax hardly threatened in the first half, but from their first corner kick of the match - which arrived four minutes after the restart - they very nearly broke the deadlock, as Nathan Paulse’s glancing header flashed just wide of the far post.
Just past the hour mark, Paulse came close for a second time, shooting mere inches wide of Reyaad Pieterse’s left-hand post after a good set-up by substitute Asive Langwe, while 10 minutes later Tshabalala must have thought he had scored when he chipped a shot beyond Jaakkola, only for Mosa Lebusa to make a heroic clearance on the goal line.
Paulse came the closest of any player to a goal in the 79th minute, meeting Langwe’s right-flank cross with a diving header only to see his effort rebound to safety off the near post, with Pieterse completely beaten. The lanky striker was soon replaced by Prince Nxumalo.
In the final minute of regulation time Jaakkola once again came to the fore with a superb save, denying Parker in a one-on-one situation to ensure his team went home with a share of the spoils.