Stars beat Ajax in Athlone
Posted: 5 March 2016 Time: 18:54
Free State Stars knocked Ajax Cape Town out of the Nedbank Cup on their home turf after a 2-1 victory at Athlone Stadium on Saturday night.
The Urban Warriors were the dominant team in possession in the first half as Tashreeq Morris headed wide early on and flashed a shot wide from just inside the area in the opening period.
Bantu Mzwakali had the best chance of the match when he went through on goal in the 22nd minute but failed to lob the oncoming Johnny Mathole in the Free State Stars goal, who made a good save.
Ea Lla Koto showed more of a threat in the second part of the half but did not test Anssi Jaakkola in the Ajax goal. In fact, Ndiviwe Mdabuka had another decent chance for Ajax but could not keep a free header down from the penalty spot.
But then Stars took the lead aganst the run of play. A goal-kick was hoofed upfield, Ayanda Nkosi managed to power down the right and put in a delightful cross to the far post for Nhlanhla Vilakazi to finish neatly on the volley.
However, Ajax pulled level in first-half stoppage time when confusion between Mathole in the Stars goal and his defender Justice Chabalala resulted in an own-goal from Mzwakali's inswinging corner-kick.
Stars came out the stronger team in the second half and thought they had taken the lead in the 59th minute when Venter's free-kick eluded Jaakkola and went straight in, but Chabalala was ruled offside in front of him and it didn't count.
But they did score a deserved goal in the 66th minute after brilliant build-up play with Venter at the heart of it all. After playing a few give-and-gos, Venter's right-footed shot-cum-cross landed at the feet of Nkosi, who simply rounded the floored Jaakkola and passed into an empty net.
Jaakkola did well in the 77th minute to keep the score only 2-1 when Nkosi's flick-on found Moeketsi Sekola running through on goal, but the goalkeeper blocked with his feet.
Ajax picked up the tempo as they chased an equaliser in the closing stages but were unable to find the spark needed, and 2-1 to Stars it ended.
HOME: Ajax Cape Town
Coach: Roger de Sa
AWAY: Free State Stars
Coach: Giovanni Solinas