Mhlengi Cele, who began the AmaZulu fightback, battles for the ball with Roscoe Pietersen of Ajax Cape Town at Athlone Stadium on Saturday night. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Ajax Cape Town threw it all away as AmaZulu came from nowhere to draw 2-2 in the Absa Premiership at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday night.

Up to that stage, the Cape side was cruising, leading 2-0 in the 89th minute, only for the Durbanites to rally late on.

The match, though, was overshadowed by the poor state of the Athlone pitch.

The drought in the Mother City has played its part in the deterioration of the field. And, while it was passed by the match commissioner, AmaZulu made no secret of their unhappiness with the sorry state of the ground.

The condition of the field was summed up by an unfortunate missed opportunity by young Ajax midfielder Grant Margeman in the 12th minute.

The 19-year-old burst through and, with the intention of shooting at goal, he lost his footing in one of the dusty, sandy patches of the ground and scuffed his attempt.

But despite the dire state of the pitch, both sets of players were energetic in their approach and committed to pushing forward in attack.

As such, there were chances at both ends as the game swung up and down.

For AmaZulu, Rhulani Manzini hoofed an effort over the bar, Siyethemba Mnguni flashed a deceptive-looking drive wide, and Mhlengi Cele bundled an inviting opportunity into the side-netting at the far post.

For Ajax, in addition to Margeman’s opportunity, Tashreeq Morris went close and Roscoe Pietersen drilled one agonisingly wide when close in on goal.

Just before the break, Ajax managed to wrestle their way on top, but again when the chance presented itself, they missed.

And again it was Pietersen who fired wide.

But the Cape side continued to pile on the pressure in the second half and it was no surprise when they took the lead early on through Masilake Phohlongo.

Masilake Phohlongo (right) of Ajax Cape Town celebrates scoring the opening goal against AmaZulu. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Truth be told, the youngster’s attempt wasn’t very well struck – it was just a shoddy showing from AmaZulu goalkeeper Boalefa Pule, who allowed the ball to slip through his hands and into the net.

Minutes later, though, it was 2-0, and a great goal it proved to be. After some superb build-up play involving Rheece Evans and Thabo Mosadi, striker Morris was left with an easy tap-in.

Bantu Mzwakali could have increased the advantage for the Capetonians a few minutes before the end, but was foiled by a fantastic stop from Pule.

AmaZulu then staged a magnificent late fightback, netting two goals in the dying moments.

Cele pulled one back in the 90th minute and that man, the inimitable 35-year-old Mabhuti Khenyeza, equalised with the final kick of the game.

 

IOL Sport