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Ellis Park
06/12/2008 20:00

Khenyeza sinks Pirates

Posted: 6 December 2008 Time: 22:57

Mabhuti Khenyeza scored the only goal of the game to hand Ajax Cape Town a 1-0 win Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership match played at the Johannesburg Stadium on Saturday night.

Both these sides will compete in the Telkom Knockout Cup final next Saturday, with the Urban Warriors now having the a psychological advantage heading into the final.

The result also moves the Urban warriors to the top of the Premiership, overtaking SuperSport United by one point.

Pirates did not want to risk their playmaker Teko Modise from being suspended for next week’s final, with the midfielder sitting on two yellow cards, and left him out of the squad.

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Bucs’ striker Adriano Pires could have scored the opening goal in the 14th minute, when the Cape Verdean striker got a fine opportunity slightly to the right side of the goal. However, Ajax keeper Andre Petim made a fine save.

A minute later, defender Rooi Mahamutsa tried to surprise Ajax keeper Petim with a long distance shot, but the ball missed the target. The Urban Warriors, meanwhile, started to get into the game after about 20 minutes, getting more possession of the ball and making some threatening counter-attacks. However, Ajax striker Mabhuti Khenyeza often looked a bit isolated upfront, getting little assistance from his five-man midfield.

On the brink of half an hour of play, Ajax's Eduardo Ferreira was handed, what looked like, a strange yellow card from referee Buyile Gqubule. It means that the strong Brazilian defender will miss the Telkom Knockout final, as he's now on three yellows.

The second half started at a high pace with both teams trying to get the upper hand. Joseph Makhanya, who played on the left wing, constantly looked dangerous early on whenever in ball possession and Ajax could often only contain him by conceding a free kick.

None of the teams really created any goal scoring opportunities during the opening stages of the second half, although Khenyeza came close in the 61st minute. However, his left footed shot from inside the box flew wide of goal.

Two minutes later, however, two mistakes by Pirates defender Lucas Thwala and, accordingly, goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa resulted in Khenyeza scoring in the 63rd minute.

Buccaneers coach Ruud Krol tried to change the tide by bringing in Siphelele Mthembu for Makhanya, who seemed to have run out of steam, and, a bit later, Lebohang Mokoena for the disappointing Irvin Mhlambi. However, the changes did not really help as both players were rather invisible after coming on.

The win helps Ajax to the number one spot on the Absa Premiership log, one point ahead of last season's champions SuperSport United who have 21 points. Pirates drop to eighth position on the log with 16 points.

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