Stars fight back to hold Ajax
Mohammed Anas bagged a double as Free State State Stars and Ajax Cape Town played to a 2-2 stalemate in an Absa Premiership clash at Athlone Stadium on Friday evening.
The Urban Warriors found the back of the net through Mark Mayambela and Rodrick Kabwe as they held the advantage at the break.
But the hosts suffered a major blow in the second stanza with Grant Margeman receiving his marching orders, as their winless run in the league stretched to six matches.
The Urban Warriors dominated the early exchanges, with Margeman pulling the strings in midfield, but the hosts would find themselves a goal down after 18 minutes.
A poor clearance by Jody February duly punished by Anas with the burly forward's rasping shot rattling the back of the net, 1-0 to the visitors.
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The goal sparked some urgency into Stanley Menzo's troops with Kabwe unable to convert a pin-point Rheece Evans cross for the home side in the 23rd minute, with the goal at the Zambians mercy.
The Urban Warriors, though, would get the goal they craved soon after as Mayambela struck home from range in the 32nd minute. Kabwe with the assist as 'Prof' leveled matters.
Ea Lla Koto squandered a golden chance to regain the lead six minutes later as Thabo Maphakisa fired straight at Jody February from close range.
Ajax Cape Town would complete the turnaround before the break as Kabwe bagged his first goal for the club. Margeman with the vital flick on as the Zambian kept his cool to make it 2-1 on the cusp of half-time.
Free State Stars came out a different team after the break and were handed a boost as Margeman was sent for an early shower; following a second bookable offence in the 72nd minute.
The visitors made good use of the man advantage as Anas tapped in from close range three minutes later. The Ghanaian forward left with an easy finish after February failed to deal sufficiently with Goodman Dlamini's powerful effort.
Serame Letsoaka's side surged forward in search of the winner, but Ajax Cape Town just about held on for a point with Roscoe Pietersen providing a timely block to deny Thamsanqa Teyise in the dying stages of the clash. '
Ajax and Stars' sit in 12th and 13th place respectively following the result in the Western Cape province.
Ajax Cape Town (2) 2 (Mayambela 32' Kabwe 45+1')
Free State Stars (1) 2 (Anas 18' 75')
Ajax: February; Lebusa, Coetzee, Pietersen, Evans (Isaacs 62') - Margeman, Graham - Mayambela (Lartey 90+1'), Kabwe, Mosadi - Nxumalo (Funga 82')
Stars: Ngobeni; Tlhone, Mahamutsa, Teyise - Masehe, Dlamini - Vilakazi, Makhaula - Jantjie, Maphakisa (Thethani 66'), Anas