THE MTN8 semifinal first leg match between Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town ended in an uninspiring goalless draw at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
Though it was an unsatisfying game from a spectator’s point of view, both camps will take positives out of the result.
An away draw in the first leg is a respectable result for the Urban Warriors, knowing that they will have home advantage in the all-important second leg.
As for Chiefs, the fact they have not conceded an away goal means any score draw in Cape Town next week will put them into the final.
The first half was a cagey affair, with neither team really able to take control in any meaningful way or create genuine scoring chances.
Ajax had perhaps the best opportunity of the half in the 27th minute when Lebogang Manyama picked out Khama Billiat with a cross, but the Zimbabwean attacker could only help the ball in to the arms of Itumeleng Khune.
Chiefs’ best attack saw overlapping fullback Jimmy Tau hit the outside of the near post with a deflected cross from the by-line on 31 minutes, but Ajax ‘keeper Sean Roberts would have had the effort covered if it had been on target.
Roberts did make one impressive save in the first half, tipping a Josta Dladla free kick over the crossbar.
Ajax were mostly restricted to long range efforts but their attackers did very well as far as pressing Chiefs’ defence was concerned, with Billiat making life particularly difficult for left-back Keegan Ritchie.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, though Chiefs did have one spell where they looked like they were going to break the deadlock and take control of the tie.
The introduction of winger Mandla Masango just past the hour mark was the inspiration behind their improvement, and the 22-year-old had the best chance of game on 72 minutes, springing free down the right before beating Roberts with a shot, but Man of the Match Nazeer Allie clear the effort off the goal line.
Ajax had two great chances in the remainder of the match, with Manyama and Billiat each having a good opportunity in the closing stages, but the former was denied by Khune while the latter drove his effort into the side netting.
The second leg takes place next Saturday night at Cape Town Stadium.
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Ajax Cape Town 0
Chiefs: Khune; Tau, Isaacs, Mashamaite, Ritchie; Dladla, Nengomasha, Baloyi, Tshabalala; Majoro (Motaung Jnr 88’), Parker (Masango 64’)
Ajax: Roberts; Hlatshwayo, Daniels, Allie, Evans (Jenniker 78’); Manyama (Rusike 85’), Maluleka, Scott, Vilakazi; Billiat, Fanteni (van Graan 90’)-Backpagepix