HomeSportSoccerAjax denied by late United equaliser

Ajax denied by late United equaliser


CAPE TOWN — Ajax Cape Town were denied an historic victory over Manchester United, as Bebe’s late equaliser salvaged a 1-1 draw for the visitors.

The Portuguese substitute scored two minutes into stoppage time, after Ajax had taken the lead in the 86th minute through Alcardo van Graan’s back-heel.

Shinji Kagawa made his first start for the Red Devils and squandered a good second-half scoring chance.

The draw maintains United’s unbeaten record on their pre-season tour. United, who defeated AmaZulu 1-0 on Wednesday in the first match on the South African leg of their tour, now travel on to China.

The English Premier League side, who were missing many first-team players, kept possession for lengthy periods early on, but failed to trouble former Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld.

Ajax created a couple of early chances, with Zimbabwean Khama Billiat and Thembinkosi Fanteni threatening Ben Amos’s goal.

United created their own opportunities in the first half at a chilly Cape Town Stadium, with Antonio Valencia creating the pick of them for Javier Hernandez, whose header was stopped by a flying one-hand save from Westerveld.

Hernandez again tried to break the deadlock, getting a touch to a low cross, but the ball trickled wide.

United dominated possession in the early stages of the second half, with Hernandez once again going close, with Ajax defender Nazeer Allie clearing well under pressure.

But the tourists could not find the goal and Kagawa wasted a good chance to break the deadlock just past the hour mark when he slid unmarked into the area, only to head a Hernandez cross wide.

Ajax survived the United onslaught and got their reward through striker Van Graan’s looping back-heel from a corner. But Bebe levelled it up at the death, arriving at the far post to volley home, after coming off the bench, along with Dimitar Berbatov, who received a huge cheer from the capacity crowd of 54 000.

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