Downs out of top eight

As a result of the win, Ajax finish the season in the top eight, while Sundowns could only make ninth.

Ajax started with a debutant in goal, the 17-year-old Tawfeeq Salie, who replaced the suspended Andre Petim. The Brazilians, meanwhile, had former Bafana star Sibusiso Zuma starting on the bench again.

Both teams needed points, with Ajax sitting in seventh position before the start of the game (on 43 points), and Sundowns in ninth position, on 40 points. It was sad to see that only about 300 supporters bothered to attend the match.

The encounter was also the last game for Craig Rosslee in charge of the Cape Town-based team, while Sundowns caretaker coach Ted Dumitru’s future is uncertain. The Brazilians had only gained one point in four league games since Dumitru took charge before the Ajax clash.

The Brazilians created some early chances, but their passing game was slow, and it was Ajax that scored the opening goal in the 38th minute thanks to Mkhanyiseli Siwahla, who pounced well on a mistake by Sundowns defender Phelelane Mpangase.

Sundowns upped the tempo of their game a bit in the second half, and the introduction of Zuma for the shockingly disappointing Katlego Mphela helped to give the home team some impetus upfront.

Bafana coach Joel Santana – if he was watching – must have wondered why he had selected Mphela for his South African squad to compete in the Confederations Cup next month.

A few chances came the Brazilians’ way, but either the target was missed or young keeper Salie saved excellently.

Just before the final whistle, substitute Serero settled the score in Ajax’s favour, banging the ball in from close-range, for his second goal off the bench against major opposition after scoring against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday.