Apart from a 20-minute period in the second half, the home team were on top for most of the game, but had to score twice in the final five minutes to make sure of the result.
There was little goal-mouth action in the first half, with Ajax in particular failing to show much in attack. Their best moment came in the ninth minute when Sameehg Doutie’s free-kick picked out Mabuthi Khenyeza, but his header was off-target.
Slowly but surely Stars begin to stamp their authority on the game and in the 30th minute Ajax keeper Andre Petim had to be alert to push Duncan Lechesa’s thunderous shot to safety.
In the 35th minute Ea Lla Koto took a deserved lead when a sweeping move down the right flank ended with Sthembiso Ngcobo playing a dangerous low cross into the box. The Ajax defence was unable to clear, allowing Tebelo Mofokeng the relatively easy chance of turning the ball home.
Four minutes later both sides were reduced to 10 men when a scuffle between Eric Bisser and Ngcobo saw both players sent for an early shower.
Ajax’s fate should have been sealed in the 53rd minute when Prince Olomu played Mofokeng through on goal. His shot across Petim was well struck, but the ball hit the upright, bouncing back to Olomu, who skied the ball high over the target with the goal at his mercy.
Khenyeza, however, showed that Ajax were still in the game when his glancing header from Thomrick October’s cross forced Kennedy Mweene into a great save three minutes later.
The Urban Warriors began to show more purpose in attack and at times Stars’ lead looked vulnerable. But Craig Rosslee’s side never really came close to pulling a goal back and Stars were able to make sure of the three points when, from 15-yards out, substitute Saitjheni Tsotetsi swept a low shot beyond the reach of Petim.
Ajax’s misfortune was compounded when Khenyeza’s effort came back off the post two minutes later. Worse was to follow as Nhlanhla Shabalala was sent off for a trip from behind, and then in the 90th minute Sanele Mabaso added Stars’ third goal with a clinical strike after a goal-mouth scramble.