Ajax welcome Maritzburg to kick off 2018

Ajax Cape Town and Maritzburg United will meet in one of the first Absa Premiership matches in the New Year, set for Cape Town Stadium on 5 January 2018, kick-off at 20h00.

Ajax ended 2017 on a low note as they suffered a 1-0 loss away to Kaizer Chiefs on December 16. It was the Soweto side’s first home win of the season, while it added to an abysmal away record for the Urban Warriors, which has claimed just two points from eight matches on the road.

Fortunately the Urban Warriors have been much stronger at home, claiming 11 points from six matches. Their last turn as hosts saw them defeat Chippa United 1-0 in December – though the match was actually held at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg due to a lack of suitable venues in the drought-hit Western Cape.

Maritzburg ended last year with a goalless stalemate away to provincial rivals Golden Arrows. The KwaZulu-Natal club had a mixed bag in the first half of the campaign and coach Fadlu Davids will want to see greater consistency for the remainder of the campaign.

The Team of Choice has claimed 10 points from eight away matches this season. Their last three games on the road produced a draw (0-0 at Polokwane City), a win (4-2 against Cape Town City) and a loss (0-1 against Mamelodi Sundowns).

In head-to-head stats, Maritzburg and Ajax have met in 23 league matches since 2005/06. The Team of Choice has claimed 10 wins compared to seven for the Urban Warriors, while six matches have been drawn. The Cape side has claimed five wins from 11 home league matches in the rivalry, suffering just one defeat in the process.

When the teams met earlier this season, Maritzburg claimed a 2-0 home win on August 23, with Evans Rusike scoring a brace. It was a fourth successive win for the Team of Choice over the Urban Warriors, who have claimed just one victory in the teams’ last eight meetings.

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