Pirates hold on for three points
Posted: 3 February 2016 Time: 21:37
Orlando Pirates held on to their lead to overcome a resurgent Ajax Cape Town at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The home side showed early intent when Thamsanqa Gabuza was put through on goal, but his shot from an acute angle was comfortably saved by Ansi Jaakkola in the fourth minute.
Ajax were delat an early blow as Nathan Paulse was forced off with an apparent broken arm, after a landing awkwardly following an Edwin Gyimah tackle.
Gabuza had another one-on-one opportunity in the 17th minute, but was again denied by Jaakkola, who rushed off his line to thwart the big striker.
However, Jaakkola became the moemish after he allowed a Rivaldo Coetzee back-pass to slip under his foot and trickle into the net under no real pressure, handing Pirates the lead in the 20th minute.
Three minutes later Rakhale could have doubled the hosts' lead after Thabo Matlaba played a well-weighted lob into the box, but the midfielder's went wide of the Ajax goal.
Just after the hour mark Thabo Qalinge was forced off due to injury and replaced by Mpho Makola, who should have scored just before half-time but he miscued his shot inside the box with only Jaakkola to beat.
Two minutes after the break, Sifiso Myeni finally added to the scoresheet, after good work down the left channel from Gabuza, who laid it on a platter for his teammate at the backpost.
Bucs seemingly took their foot off the gas, as they allowed Ajax to claw their way back into the tie.
First-half substitute Prince Nxumalo was on hand to pull one back for the Urban Warriors after Gyimah opted to control rather than clear a cross into the box, and Mhlongo had no chance as the striker fired home.
The goal served as a wake-up call to Eric Tinkler's side, as Abbubakar Mobara was called into a last-minute tackle to deny Rakhale a good opportunity from just inside the box in the 70th minute.
Bucs let a few more chances go to waste, before Nxumalo almost haunted the hosts with an 88th minute header that rattled Mhlongo's crossbar.
2-1 it ended as Pirates moved into 12th position, with 20 points from 16 games, while Ajax dropped to 13th on the log standings.
HOME: Orlando Pirates
Coach: Eric Tinkler
AWAY: Ajax Cape Town
Coach: Roger de Sa