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Ajax 1-1 Moroka Swallows

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Lebusa: Opening goal

Lebusa: Opening goal

Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows played to a 1-1 draw in a Premier Soccer League fixture at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.

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The stadium's usually world-class field, which hosted a music concert just one week before, was in poor condition ahead of this highly anticipated fixture.

The 18-yard areas on both ends of the field were particularly bad, which would have created some anxiety for both goal-keepers.

However, for the greater part of the first half Ajax Cape Town was the only team that seemed prepared to try and exploit those conditions, even if the execution from the Urban Warriors was amateurish, at best.

Ajax's Mabhuti Khenyeza displayed good tactical acumen throughout the course of the first stanza. His awareness was most apparent and he created some wonderful opportunities for the hosts.

However, more often than not, his teammates didn't appear to be on the same wavelength.

Quite frankly Mosa Lebusa's conversion on the 45 minute mark was long overdue under the circumstances.

The reality is - and Ajax will acknowledge this - that Swallows' prospects of winning this match should have been eliminated within the first 30 minutes.

On the fifteen minute mark Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia spilt a long range effort, but was granted a reprieve when Khenyeza, who was also guilty of squandering chances, hacked his shot over the goal posts.

Three minutes later Keagan Dolly had an equally good opportunity to put the Urban Warriors in the lead, but his shot - off the left foot - was woefully mistimed.

On the 21 minute mark Abia Nale should have scored for Ajax, after penetrating the Swallows 18-yard area once again.

While all these chances were being missed, the critical factor was that the hosts were asking pertinent questions and the Swallows defence, which was being breached consistently, was running out of answers - and luck.

In the last fifteen minutes of the first half, there were another four realistic opportunities to score for Ajax; all of them were wasted.

Dolly almost scored from 20 yards out on the 44 minute mark, but Etafia was up to the challenge once again.

However, he was also forced to hand a dangerous looking Ajax a corner kick. This resulted in the subsequent goal from Lebusa.

At the half-time break, an aspect which would have been discussed at length was that Swallows, who were not the superior team, were still in contention.

That was all the incentive the Birds needed when the second stanza began.

Twenty-five minutes into the second half, Ajax would come to rue the opportunities lost, when Siyabonga Nomvethe equalised for the visitors.

Suddenly, the balance of power in this match began to shift, as it often happens when a team manages to claw its way back into a contest.

The irony was that with five minutes to play, it was Swallows that would learn to regret the opportunities lost.

The pressure was intensified during injury time and for a fleeting moment; it looked like Swallows could actually snatch what was an unlikely win.

Absa Premiership encounters are often mundane affairs and it is tempting to suggest that this match was just as mundane, based purely on the final score.

However, there was some enterprising football throughout and perhaps it was only just that both teams shared the spoils.

Posted: 13/02/13 20:08

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