Cape Town - A last minute penalty by Nathan Paulse saw Ajax Cape Town snatch a point after a 2-2 draw at the Cape Town Stadium against an enterprising Bloemfontein Celtic side in the first Absa Premiership match of 2016.
Visiting side Bloemfontein Celtic settled down quicker and looked the better side for much of the first half. It was no surprise when Vusi Shikweni found space and volleyed at goal for the first chance of the game inside the first minute.
Then, six minutes into the game and the swirling wind made a contribution when a swerving Toriq Losper cross put pressure on Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb but even though he fumbled the ball, Ajax could not take advantage.
Then Celtic suffered a blow when Mthokozisi Dube had to be taken off on a stretcher after falling awkwardly onto his elbow, in what seemed like a dislocated shoulder injury, and he had to be replaced by Aphiwe Lubisi.
Celtic took the lead off the boot of Malawian striker Frank Mhango in the 21st minute. The chance arrived following some clever attacking work from Lerato Lamola and Thapelo Morena in the build-up, but when the ball landed at the feet of Mhango, he made no mistake with a first time shot past Anssi Jaakkola in goals.
Celtic kept the pressure on Ajax and pushed hard for a second goal and they had the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out for offside.
In the 35th minute, Mhango was put through on goal and should have put his side 2-0 up, but he somehow failed in his attempt at goal.
In the second half, Celtic had another very good chance to go further into the lead in the 53rd minute. But Morena, despite having plenty of time and space, took too long to fire at goal and Abbubakar Mobara got back to make a crucial tackle.
Ajax made an early second half change and brought on Nathan Paulse who immediately made a difference as the home side started knocking long balls into the Celtic defence to find Paulse.
Just after the hour mark Ajax were back in the match when Losper cut inside from the right wing and fired a left footed shot to the near post, which beat Tignyemb.
But Celtic again grabbed the lead through the pacey and tricky Thapelo Morena who burst through the Ajax defence and placed his shot past Jaakkola following Lamola’s through ball.
Then in the final minute of the game Musa Bilankulu made contact with Losper’s leg inside the 18 area even though it was not malicious, and Losper went down and a penalty was awarded. Nathan Paulse made no mistake.