Ajax and Celtic share the spoils

Ajax and Celtic share the spoils

Despite a flood of wasted chances, Bloemfontein Celtic ended in a 2-2 draw with hosts Ajax Cape Town in their Premiership match at Athlone Stadium, in Cape Town, on Friday evening.

Celtic could have easily won by a four-goal margin, but on the night they were anything but clinical as they consistently missed the target when scoring appeared easier.

Even though three goals were scored in the last half an hour of the encounter, an outright winner could not be found by either side.

With the draw, Ajax moved to 12 points and 11th position on the table. Celtic, meanwhile, ended with 17 points and sixth place on the log.

Celtic were dealt a blow early in the encounter when Mthokozisi Dube went off injured. During a challenge the player fell awkwardly on his arm and suffered a dislocated shoulder. Aphiwe Lubisi came on to replace his injured teammate, and the loss of the player did not seem to deter Celtic who showed great attacking intent.

Celtic opened the scoring in the 21st minute after breaking the defensive line of Ajax. Lerato Lamola snatched possession near the centre circle, before quickly getting the ball out to Gabadinho Mhango who slotted past outstretched Ajax keeper Anssi Jaakkola to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Celtic were denied a second goal three minutes later. Thapelo Morena drove the ball goalward from close range, but the ball struck teammate Lamola who was retreating off the line. Morena then found the target with the rebound, but it did not count as the linesman ruled the strike offside.

In the 36th minute, Mhango spurned the easiest of chances to put his side further ahead. The player found himself ahead of the Ajax defence courtesy of an excellent through-ball from Vusi Shikweni, but Mhango’s lob over Jaakkola was inexplicably directed wide.

Yet another opportunity was spurned by Celtic just after half-time. Morena ran onto an overhead ball as he moved into the box, but he took too long to gain control and Abbubakar Mobara was able to get a vital block in to deny the rampaging Celtic attack.

The careless finishing would come back to haunt Celtic as Ajax equalised against the run of play in the 63rd minute. Toriq Losper made a swerving diagonal run into the area, and was able to unleash a low, accurate, strike which found the corner of goal to leave the sides locked at 1-1.

Celtic finally scored their second in the 84th minute, as Morena showed a glimpse of pace before slotting past a despairing Jaakkola to grab what appeared a vital lead for his side.

Ajax were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute, as Toriq Losper was brought down in the area. Nathan Paulse stepped up to the spot and had no problem in finding the target to earn a share of the points.

The Paulse strike would be the last of the evening as the teams were forced to settle for a single point each from the outing.

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