The Brazilians saw their advantage slashed to three points by hard-chasing Bidvest Wits on Tuesday night, and they have only managed to add one point to that after failing to overcome the Urban Warriors in a cold and rainy ‘Mother City’.
Sundowns struggled to get their passing game going in the first half, and it was the home side which dominated as a result.
Ajax should have claimed the lead in the 11th minute when Erwin Issacs provided a low cross to give Prince Nxumalo a great chance, but he was brilliantly denied by goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
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Just past the half hour mark the Urban Warriors again missed out on a glaring opportunity, with Isaacs somehow missing the target from close range with a virtual open goal at his mercy.
Sundowns’ first notable chance only arrived late in the first half when a Khama Billiat cross allowed Leonardo Castro to get ahead of his marker in the box, but his header failed to trouble Anssi Jaakola.
Long-range specialist Hlompho Kekana almost gave ‘Downs the lead in injury time before the interval, firing a fearsome shot direct from a free kick but the woodwork came to Ajax’s rescue.
Sundowns threatened again only in the 72nd minute, with Bangaly Soumahoro getting a header on target from a corner kick and forcing Jaakkola into a fine diving save.
That chance sparked both teams into life for the remainder of the match, and chances were created at either end though it was the Brazilians who looked the likelier scorers as the full-time whistle approached.
However, the match finished in a goalless stalemate, with Ajax left to reflect on their missed chances in the first half, while the Brazilians – given their mounting injury list and hectic schedule – may well consider this a point won rather than two lost.