Ajax Stay Up With Draw

Ajax Cape Town have ensured their place in the Premier Soccer League for next season after a hard-fought draw against Sundowns at Loftus on Sunday afternoon.

There were plenty of nervy moments for the visitors in the game, but they managed to hold the Brazilians in the second half and earn a result which means the home side fail to qualify for the lucrative SAA Super Eight competition for next season.

Things started well for Sundowns as Raphael Chukwu gave them the lead inside six minutes.

Chukwu looked to be in an offside position as received the ball on the edge of the six-yard box, but his stab home managed to elude the inrushing Sipho Ndudzo and found its way into the back of the net.

Ajax never lost their shape, however, and always looked as though they might get back into the game.

The breakthrough finally did come on 36 minutes as Brett Evans, called into the Bafana Bafana squad for the recent international with England, lofted over an inch-perfect cross for Urban Warrior captain Robert Nauseb to meet with a powerful header that flashed into the Sundowns net.

Ajax should have been ahead just before the break as a free-kick into the six-yard area skimmed off the head of striker Brent Carelse and into the net, however the goal was ruled out for an offside which only the referee and his assistant saw.

The second half was all about Ajax getting players behind the ball and they defended superbly, hoping to hit the home side on the break.

They did have one scary moment when Ernest Marumo's cross-come-shot landed on the top of the Ajax crossbar with Moeneeb Josephs well beaten.

Warriors' coach Gordon Igesund brought Nathan Paulse on with 15 minutes to go, leaving the giant striker up front on his own and bringing everybody else back into defensive mode.

This ploy worked well and the Cape side were able to hold on to the final whistle, making sure they will be back next season in the top-flight of South African soccer.

Igesund and his team can now look forward to the Absa Cup final next weekend against city rivals Santos, where they will perhaps start as marginal favourites after a good run of results in recent weeks.