Stanley Menzo takes positives from Ea Lla Koto draw

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Ajax Cape Town head coach Stanley Menzo chose to focus on the positives, following a disappointing 2-2 stalemate against Free State Stars at Athlone Stadium this past Friday.

The Urban Warriors looked on course for a first win of 2017, as goals from Mark Mayambela and Rodrick Kabwe put the hosts 2-1 up at the break.

Ea Lla Koto came out firing following the interval, but Ajax Cape Town regained control of the clash, before Grant Margeman received his marching orders following a second bookable offence.

Free State Stars duly leveled matters and despite going another 90 minutes without being able to bag three points Menzo preferred to concentrate on the positives.

“Everybody’s going on about the [winless run], can’t we find something else to talk about? We didn’t lose, they didn’t come close [to winning] so for us it’s not a bad result,” Menzo told SuperSport TV in the aftermath.

“Especially with the fact that we played with 10 men for a long time, it’s not a bad result. The only pity is that it was a moment to make the gap between Free State Stars and ourselves bigger. But the win will come, for me it’s not something I’m worried about.

The Dutch tactician identified two crucial moments that took the win away from Ajax Cape Town; Jody February’s blunder that allowed Mohammed Anas to score the opener and Margeman’s contentious sending off.

“I think there were two crucial moments in this game. [Before] their first goal I think we were in the game and were on top for long moments in the first half,” Menzo added.

“The team came back well to lead 2-1 [at half-time], but the second crucial moment was the red card. We then had to fight and they scored to make it 2-2, that’s actually it.

“I think when we played with 11 men we were dominating. We had problems in the second half, of course, because they pushed forward more, but there was nothing wrong and those crucial moments [cost us the win].”

Menzo admitted that he was left surprised by the referee’s decision to send the 18-year-old midfielder off, with Margeman having picked up a hamstring injury.

“I don’t know [why he was booked] but I think something happened earlier. It was not his coming off – that’s what the referee said,” Menzo continued.

“If the player has a hamstring problem he can’t run off the field, then you have to [question] the referee, if that was the issue then you give one minute extra, I don’t care.

“But he already has a yellow card and he has a hamstring problem so he can’t sprint, but what the referee said is there was something else wrong, I don’t know,” the Dutch tactician concluded.

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