POLOKWANE – High riding Baroka FC were forced to come from behind on two occasions before drawing 2-2 with Ajax Cape Town in an Absa Premiership match played at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday afternoon.
Ajax, who have had another slow start to the league season in terms of points, did not hold back against the Limpopo side who were forced to playoff for their top flight spot at the end of the 2016/2017 season, and prevented Baroka from playing their classy passing midfield build up style.
Ajax went ahead as early as the second minute, when defender Rodrick Kabwe unleashed a powerful shot from 25 metres out which Baroka’s Namibian international goalkeeper Virgil Vries could only get a touch of his gloves on to as it soared into the top corner of his goal net.
Ten minutes later, Ajax were on the receiving end of a hotly disputed handball decision, with the end result being a penalty awarded to the hosts, from which defender Richard Matloga levelled matters as he sent Ajax goalkeeper Brandon Petersen the wrong way.
With Ajax having had the better of the first half in terms of scoring chances and percentage possession, the hosts found themselves behind again in the 51st minute when Ajax striker Tashreeq Morris fired the ball home from just outside the penalty area with Vries well off his line.
However, holding a lead seemed to be a problem for the Capetonians, and some poor marking in the penalty area, saw second half substitute Lewis Macha head home for Baroka, with goalkeeper Petersen in no man’s land.
From there on, Baroka seemed to regain their confidence, with goalkeeper Petersen forced to pull off several excellent saves to keep the visitors in the game.
Both coaches Kgoloko Thobejane (Baroka) and Stanley Menzo (Ajax) will be concerned as to how often their defensive patterns were beaten through poor marking, positional play or aerial marking in the penalty area, with the game having had the potential to produce even more goals than it did.
Baroka, now on 12 points from six matches, will travel to face Kaizer Chiefs in their next league encounter next Saturday, while on the same day, Ajax, on five points from as many games, will be the home team in the Mother City derby against Cape Town City.