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Zim Leopards and Ajax Hotspurs play a one all draw

by Siphambaniso Dube
04 Jul 2011 at 07:53hrs | Views
Zim Leopards (0) 1 - (0) 1 Ajax Hotspurs
Ajax Hotspurs Dominated play against Zim Leopards today but had to come from behind to force a draw in a game that Zim Leopards should thank the heroics of their keeper for a top of the range display that kept Hotspurs strikers at bay.

In a game where youth development was the focal point as both sides showed that their major thrust is development, action swung from one end to the other with both teams displaying high quality football punctuated by good ball distribution and intelligent off the ball runs.

However Ajax Hotspurs took the game to their opponents with Maxwell Mburayi combining well with Esau Mvula, captain Yaya and young Chrispen Machisi. The Mpopoma boys bombarded the Leopards goal area left right and centre in search of an opener and try as they might have done they found young Zim Leopards sticks man Tawanda Moyo in an uncompromising mood.

Firstly a perfectly weighted corner kick by Machisi was met with a flashing header from Mvula but the keeper rose to the challenge to punch the ball back into play. Kingsley Best got to the end of the second ball but the shot stopper once again smothered the danger and when Mvula was presented with a second bite on the cherry, his powerful drive was deflected away for another corner.

Machisi once again perfectly delivered into the box and Best's flashing header missed the right upright. Ajax were on song and the Leopards found Hotspurs to hot to handle and indeed they began to retreat back as Hotspurs clawed their way into the game. Mburayi dribbled past a cluster of defenders and set up Nqobilizwe Ncube whose turn and shoot yielded no result. Ncube was again sent scampering down the right channel, he cut through inside a defender and his turn a shoot did not trouble the impressive goalie If Ajax Hotspurs were hoping for a an early breakthrough in the second half they got a shock as Leopards clawed their way back into the game and this began to unsettle Hotspurs defence.

However Hotspurs changed their gear to the overdrive but still Moyo was the difference between winners and losers as he single handedly made sure Ajax Hotspurs did not get maximum points. Machisi could have given Hotspurs the lead but hesitated when face to face with the charging Moyo. Nqobilizwe twisted and turned leaving a trail of defenders sprawling on the ground but he rushed his shot when everyone was up their feet in anticipation. Mburayi also came charging towards goal but the ball got stuck between his feet when he coiled to shoot.

Hotspurs dominance and their failure to convert the numerous chances that came their way was bound to backfire and backfire it did when Jeffrey Jengwa tried one trick too many at the back and was dispossessed by the nippy Lessley Makusha. With no imminent danger as Makusha drifted away from goal Thamsanqa Diof Jubane took away the strikers legs in the 18 yard area and the referee Ngqabutho pointed to the spot. Makusha dusted himself up to take the spot kick which he dispatched to the west with Thabani Ndlovu diving to the east. 1-0 game on.

Ajax Hotspurs came charging forward in search of the equaliser and they brought in Bantu Rovers bound and Zimbabwe International Under 20 trialist Thulani Thuske Gumede and the Leopards defence began to commit unwarranted mistakes. Gumede's exquisite touch set up Ncube whose loft of the ball enticed the Leopards defender to handle but the referee waved play on. However Hotspurs persistence and probing finally paid off as Gumede committed the defender to make a mistake and he pounced to give Hotspurs a deserved equaliser.

The goal set up a frenetic end to the game as Hotspurs searched for an elusive winner. The two teams clash in a reverse fixture at Somhlolo Stadium next weekend and the stage has been set for the Derby of Locations Part 2.

Zim Leopards
Tawanda Moyo, Kuda Chitsunge, Benson Phiri, Maliza Phiri, Proud Dube, Mthabisi Ndebele, Lesley Makusha, Ralph Chirecha, Terrence Moyo, Thamsanqa Mkhotheli, Paul Nyirenda

Ajax Hotspurs
Thabani Ndlovu, Jeffrey Jengwa, Bhekithemba Lopez Mhlanga , Alfred Khuboni, Thamsanqa Jubane, Memory Yaya Sibanda, Esau Mvula, Chrispen Machisi, Maxwell Mburayi, Kingsley Best, Nqobilizwe Ncube.

Simon Chihururu for Wilfred Kuboni, Thulani Gumede for Kingsley Best, Peter Muduhwa for Simon Chihururu