Robert Sankara netted in the 18th minute after a Stars indirect free-kick was headed on by Hendrik Somaeb, with the Burkina Faso international present to head home for the home side.
After Sankara’s goal, Stars threw everything at Ajax, showing their intention to win the tie. They did not allow the Urban Warriors to settle down and kept the pressure on for the rest of the half.
Then late in the first half, Somaeb powered in a shot that Ajax’s in-form goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola saved to deny Stars what would have been a stunning strike.
At the start of the second half, Bantu Mzwakali came on to replace the injured Riyaad Norodien, who was stretchered off in the closing stages of the first half.
On 60 minutes, Ajax defender Mosa Lebusa got into a good position and took a shot at goal, but he put his effort wide of the upright.
In the 67th minute, Ajax’s Tashreeq Morris made Stars keeper Daouda Diakite work hard to parry his shot into safety, and a few minutes later Diakite made another good save to deny the visitors from drawing level, this time stopping substitute Nathan Paulse.
In the final ten minutes of the encounter Ajax, having made all three substitutions, were asking questions of the Stars defence, keeping them pinned back in their own half.
Mzwakali was unlucky to see his shot fly over the crossbar before Camadine Abraw’s acrobatic attempt for Stars also flew wide, moments before the referee blew the final whistle.