Tasreeq Morris came off the bench and scored his debut PSL goal to earn a late win for the Urban Warriors, while Chiefs were left ruing their missed chances.
Chiefs came into the game looking to extract revenge from this fixture last season, when a 3-1 defeat at Cape Town Stadium meant that their title celebrations were delayed by a week.
Amakhosi were the first to create some attacking impetus when they won the ball back in the middle four minutes in. Some quick passing to George Lebese allowed him to take a shot from outside the box, but it was wide.
Telinho has a chance after some similar work by Ajax, after a goal-kick from Anssi Jaakkola, but it too sailed wide.
By the 17th minute Chiefs were winning the physical and possession battles, but there was still little goalmouth action.
Thulani Hlatshwayo, who was back in action and wearing a scrumcap after suffering a concussion against University of Pretoria, tried to nod in a corner-kick, but Itumeleng Khune was equal to the shot.
In the 26th minute Reneilwe Letsholonyane struck Jaakkola’s punching save on the half-volley. The midfielder directed it towards goal, but skipper Dominic Isaacs did well to boot it away from danger.
Ajax’s most dangerous moment of the half came in the 31st minute when Eleazar Rodgers was denied by the post. The lanky striker side-footed Hlatshwayo’s cross onto the upright.
Muhsin Ertugral opted for a change at the restart, bringing on Keagan Dolly in place of Cole Alexander, while Ajax started to impress with some terrific one-two play between Toriq Losper and Hlatshwayo.
Rodgers should have done better with a cross from Hlatshwayo, and four minutes later Dolly was guilty of missing the target, despite having plenty of room on the left-flank.
Chiefs’ most threatening attack came on 72 minutes, when Tefu Mashamaite watched his header skim the roof of the net after a corner from Siphiwe Tshabalala.
But Chiefs fans were calling for a substitution all through the second half, and Stuart Baxter obliged, bringing on Josta Dladla and Lehlohonolo Majoro on 78 minutes.
The defending Premiership champions were persistent in their pursuit of a goal, but it was Ajax who stole the show.
Morris needed just six minutes on the park to steal all three points, when he headed home at the near post, after a cross from Abbubaker Mobara.