Derby ends all square
The Cape Derby lived up to all pre-match expectations as local fans were treated to a feast of entertainment and football, yet despite a 1-1 all draw the fans enjoyed every minute of the action.
The game was all action from the kick off with both teams playing a good brand of football. Spurred on by the boisterous fans, the players did not disappoint.
Ajax took the game to their visitors in the first half but they could not make good the chances created in front of goal. In the opening minutes both Billiat and Maluleka came close then Carelse’s shot from close range hit the cross bar.
The Urban Warriors kept Santos pinned in their own half for most of the opening stanza and in the 17th minute Maluleka drew the Santos, stepped over the ball to give Carelse his first of many scoring opportunities but the Santos keeper, Pa Dembo Touray pushed the effort wide to concede a corner.
Minutes later Manyama fired at goal from the edge of the penalty area but his shot went wide of the target.
The game swung from end to end as Santos found their rhythm winning a free-kick on the edge of the Ajax penalty area. The resultant free-kick hit the wall and bounced around the area before Pattison fired his shot into the stands, then Allie did well to stave off another Santos attack to clear the danger.
The competitive nature of the game resultant in a number of fouls conceded and the game was halted for a few moments when Vilakazi and Morris clashed heads as they competed for a high ball.
Matthew Booth and Nazeer Allie once again marshalled the Ajax defence well with Rodgers and Booth enjoying the duel to win the aerial balls played into the Ajax defensive zone.
On one end Booth got above the Santos attack to clear the danger and almost immediately the ball was at the other end of the pitch but Vilakazi shoots straight at the Santos keeper then Allie had to be at his best as he won the ball almost on his own goal-line to keep the score-sheet clean.
The end-to-end football kept the fans on the edge of their seats as Billiat and Carelse tested the Santos defence on a number of occasions with George Maluleka pulling the strings as he launched his strikers with precision passes from the midfield.
The pressure paid off when Maluleka was brought down in the penalty area as he burst through from a deep position. Carelse stepped up and hit a superb penalty into the top corner of the net.
Ajax continued to create chances but could not finish their exciting build-ups.
A more determined Santos started the second half as they took the game to Ajax and within five minutes of the restart Vuyisile Wana fired his shot against the crossbar. Ajax soaked-up the pressure before attacking on the counter with Billiat, Manyama and Vilakazi causing the Santos defence all kinds of problems.
Erwin Isaacs created the opening for Eleazar Rodgers to equalize when he floated in a good cross to the far post. Rodgers rose above the Ajax defence and scored with a looping header into the far corner.
Akpabio, Ajax Cape Town’s Nigerian striker came on for the Urban Warriors and his industrious running opened up a few chances at the Santos end.
First he won a corner after some nifty footwork on the by-line then he forces Pa Dembo to push a shot at goal wide to concede a corner.
Cole Alexander replaced Carelse and he launched a number of attacks from deep with accurate passes forward.
Ajax continue to search for a winner and almost found the target bit for Tyren Arendse who clear the ball off the goal-line, while on the other end Jenniker races shoulder to shoulder with Isaacs before poking the ball wide for a corner.
Westerveld gathered the ball to restart the game. Pattison went down under a challenge to stop play for a few moments and Santos replaced the played bringing on Segalo.
Alexander won possession deep in his own half before his long pass forward found Maluleka who passed to Billiat then to Akpabio but Santos, defending in numbers smothered the danger.
Ajax, having scored late goals in their last two games almost broke through in extra time when a sweeping movement via Booth, Lolo and Vilakazi, was played to Manyama who just strayed offside.
The game ended 1 goal a-piece after a thrilling 94 minutes. Ajax climb back to fourth position; while Santos earned a valuable point as they climb clear off the bottom four.