Ajax back on top
Posted: 23 April 2008 Time: 21:34
Ajax Cape Town returned to the top of the Absa Premiership table following a gutsy 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
Nathan Paulse and Russel Mwafulirwa scored for the homeside.
In a tight, but entertaining game, Ajax showed great character to seal the vital win with a goal in jury time in both halves.
The game got off to a flying start, with the Cape team looking determined to make an early breakthrough as they brought out several saves from Pirates keeper Senzo Meyiwa in the opening couple of minutes.
In as early as the second minute Nhlanhla Shabalala tested Meyiwa with a header from a Franklyn Cale cross, but he lacked the power to beat the Buccaneers shot stopper.
In the sixth minute Paulse showed good determination to out-muscle Happy Jele and bear down on goal, but Meyiwa did well to move off his line smartly and block the shot.
Pirates soon hit back and thought they had scored the opener in the 10th minute, but Excellent Walaza's shot was ruled off-side.
In the 13th minute Bennett Chenene's good run was not matched by his finish as he shot well over the bar from the edge of the area.
The tempo of the game remained high throughout the half, with the homeside shading proceedings as they showed a greater hunger.
After they were again thwarted in the 37th minute when Meyiwa saved brilliantly from Shabalala, Ajax finally found the back of the net in the fifth minute of injury time when Paulse timed his run to perfection to power home a header from Mkhanyiseli Siwahla corner.
A succession of free kicks awarded early in the second half failed to see either side come close to scoring, with the exception of Siwahla's 57th minute effort which ended up in the side-netting.
After Pirates coach Owen Da Gama made three early changes, the visitors started to enjoy more of the play, but they struggled up front to find much penetration against a stubborn Ajax defence.
When Chenene did break through on goal in the 70th minute, goal keeper Morgan Cathey made a great save to keep The Urban Warriors' lead in tact.
Coach Craig Rosslee looked nervous on the side-lines as his side battled valiantly to keep Pirates at bay in the last 15 minutes, but he was finally able to relax when the win was sealed in the 93rd minute after Russell Mwafulirwa forced his way through to goal before tapping in after his initial shot had rebounded off the upright.