Supersport close gap at top
Posted: 4 March 2008 Time: 21:18
Supersport United have blown the Absa Premiership title race wide open with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ajax Cape Town at the Super Stadium on Tuesday night.
Matsatsantsa moved to within a point of the League leaders after a match punctuated with defensive errors, but providing great entertainment for the crowd.
In front of the watching Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, Supersport striker Kermit Erasmus scored his first professional goal midway through the first half, before Nathan Paulse continued his fine run of form with the equaliser.
Franklin Cale scored his first goal of the season five minutes into the second half as the Urban Warriors threatened to take control, but two goals in the space of four minutes from Katlego Mashego and Daine Klate turned the game on its head once more.
Erasmus had the first strike on a goal with a good run and shot from 25 yards that had Ajax goalkeeper Hans Vonk stretching, but saving comfortably in the end.
There was a moment of controversy on 16 minutes when Elias Pelembe’s header from the free-kick looked as though it might have crossed the line, but the referee decided Vonk had prevented the goal.
A mistake on 23 minutes from Brazilian Eduardo Ferreira from Fikru Tefera’s pass let Erasmus in behind the Ajax defence and the youngster coolly slotted past the onrushing Vonk to give the home side the lead.
The 17-year-old, who will be leaving for Dutch club Feyenoord at the end of the season, celebrated his goal with a somersault as his teammates rushed to congratulate him.
But the lead lasted just five minutes as Paulse beat the offside trap after Thabo September had let the ball run and the inform striker took his time before beating Dennis Onyango in the home goal. It took Paulse’s goal tally to six goals in his last four matches and eight for the season.
A beautiful move three minutes before halftime by Supersport put Klate through on Vonk’s goal, but the veteran keeper was equal to the task and saved with his feet, and was then up quickly to save again from a follow-up shot from Erasmus.
Bongani Khumalo might have done better a few minutes into the second half when he got his head to the free-kick, but could not get enough purchase on the ball to steer it goalward.
Cale then capitalised on another defensive error from the home side as Siboniso Gaxa’s weak back-pass fell well short of Onyango and the midfielder took advantage to slot the ball past the keeper.
September had an excellent chance to make amends for his earlier error when he found space for a free header, but could only direct the ball into the hands of Vonk, when a metre either side would have had the keeper stretching.
But Supersport were level on 68 minutes when substitute Mashego’s flick-on from the free-kick beat the despairing dive of Vonk.
And the turn-around was complete four minutes later when Klate latched onto a long pass that eluded the unusually poor Ferreira and dispatched the ball into the back of the net, much to the delight of coach Gavin Hunt.
Ferreira had the ball in the back of the net deep into injury time, but the whistle for offside had already blown before his chipped shot from 30-yards and Pelembe somehow failed to make it four for Supersport when he had plenty of time and space to beat Vonk, but failed to beat the big stopper.