Bucs get one over Ajax
Posted: 9 August 2009 Time: 17:40
A second-half header from midfielder Benson Mhlongo gave Orlando Pirates a 1-0 Absa Premiership victory over Ajax Cape Town at Newlands Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The match was an entertaining encounter between two sides, who both like to play attacking football, and both had excellent chances to add to the score-line. But Pirates will be delighted with the three points that get their Premiership campaign off to the perfect start.
Ajax missed an open goal inside the first three minutes when Diyo Sibisi’s enterprise down the right provided an inch-perfect cross for Thulani Serero, but the youngster got the ball caught under his feet from four yards when he needed just supply a simple tap-in finish.
Mhlongo had the first real effort on goal for Pirates with 15 minutes left in the first half when he was found in acres of space at the back post by a Katlego Mashego free-kick. The big man could not keep his half-volleyed shot on target though and Ajax goalkeeper Hans Vonk was able to shepherd the ball wide.
Dipsy Selolwane fired wide after he was found on the edge of the area from the corner, while at the other end Teko Modise over-hit his cross to the back post when he might have rather taken on the shot.
Mhlongo then volleyed over from the centre of the penalty-area when he should have at least hit the target as Pirates finally began to assert some pressure in the final third.
And they should have had the lead on 37 minutes when Mashego’s brilliant run and cross from the left was headed wide by Siphelele Mthembu with just Vonk to beat.
Sibisi showed good trickery in the box to work a shooting chance for himself, but Moeneeb Josephs was up for the challenge and blocked the goal-bound effort.
But Pirates had the lead in the 49th minute when Dikgang Mabalane’s cross was headed home by an unmarked Mhlongo, leaving Vonk with no chance.
Andile Jali then tested Vonk once more with a low drive after good work from Mabalane and Modise, but the home goalkeeper was up to the challenge.
Ajax made a triple change on 58 minutes, with Cole Alexander, Sifiso Vilakazi and Lance Davids replacing Clifford Ngobeni, Sameehg Doutie and Serero respectively.
Mthembu was let down by his first touch when in a great position to make it 2-0 after more excellent work from Mabalane, while Vilakazi headed wide with his first touch of the ball.
Hlatshwayo should have equalised for the Urban Warriors when he found himself with a free header at the back post from Franklin Cale’s corner, but missed the target altogether.
Ajax were denied a penalty in the 83rd minute when Cale appeared to be shoved in he penalty-area, but referee Daniel Bennett waved play-on.
But Mashego should have wrapped up the points late on when he was expertly found by Modise six-yards out with just the keeper to beat, but his heavy touched only guided the ball into the hands of a relieved Vonk.
Ferreira might have made him pay but put his header from a corner wide, while Josephs then produced an excellent save to deny Davids from all of 30-yards.