It was certainly not a classic, but Ajax’s greater quality saw them seal the three points against the more physical Stars side, as Thulani Hlatshwayo, Paul Rusike and Khama Billiat netted for the Urban Warriors. Katlego Mashego netted a late consolation for the visitors.
Both sides failed to get their passing game going in the first half, but there were chances. Stars should have taken the lead when Edward Mnqele only had to head into an empty net, but instead pushed his effort over the crossbar.
Rusike had the ball in the back of the net for Ajax 10 minutes before halftime, but the effort was ruled out for handball by referee Victor Gomes which looks to be the correct decision.
The teams went into the break at 0-0 but just after the break the home side were ahead. Stars went to sleep from a corner and the ball fell to Hlatshwayo around the penalty-spot. He blasted the ball home to give the Urban Warriors the lead.
Sean Roberts in the Ajax goal had a heart-stopping moment as he let the ball slip under his foot from a backpass but recovered just in time.
It was 2-0 on 72 minutes with a fantastic strike from the Zimbabwean Rusike, who picked up the ball 35 yards from goal and thundered a strike into the top corner.
Stars should have been back in the game on 78 minutes when Mnqele again missed an absolute sitter. The ball fell to him five yards from goal and with not a defender in sight, he completely missed the ball with an ‘air-kick’ that might have brought his side back into the game.
Instead, just a minute later Ajax went up-field and made the points safe when Billiat broke into the area and rounded Kennedy Mweene in the home goal, slotting home the third.
Stars had the final say with a fine strike from former Baroka FC star Mashego, who blasted home from the edge of the area, but it was too little, too late.