Muhsin Ertugral nearly gave up on Ajax Cape Town side in crucial win over Baroka
Posted: 25 April 2018 Time: 08:05
Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral admits he almost gave up on his side before the injury-time winner against Baroka FC on Tuesday night.
The encounter looked to be heading for a goalless draw after a number of attacking chances were squandered late in the game, with Yannick Zakri, Mosa Lebusa and Sirgio Kammies all guilty of missing the target from good positions in front of goal, as the pressure on the relegation-threatened club took its toll.
Yet a blunder by Bakgaga keeper Ayanda Dlamini allowed captain Lebusa to head into an empty net in the third minute of injury time, sparking scenes of jubilation on both the pitch and Athlone Stadium stands as the Cape club claimed all three points.
Ertugral admits he had almost given up after substitute Kammies missed the target with a shot inside the box in the closing stages of the game.
“I nearly gave up when Sirgio missed that chance,” he said after the game. “And we’ve worked on that every day at training, in those situations and those angles. I think he got a bit frightened in that situation though, and after that I thought to myself, ‘It’s just not going in’. At that point we had three or four really clear chances.”
The Turk was naturally beaming after the game as Ajax lifted themselves up the standings, and was quick to praise his players’ character after the tough last-gasp victory.
“The boys didn’t give up, and kept on going until that last chance in the last minute, which shows the character that we have,” he said. “And what I have seen in training over the last couple of weeks was just amazing, just the way and how hard the boys are working. I think we played our hearts out today. Everything goes out to the boys, it was marvellous how they played.”
The win sees Ajax leapfrog SuperSport United (who are in action against Free State Stars tonight) into 14th place on the log, level on points with Polokwane City, who host Cape Town City this evening.