Sadat gives Stars victory over Ajax
Two goals in the first half from Luyolo Nomandela and Sadat Ouro-Akoriko was enough to see Free State Stars beat Ajax Cape Town 2-1 in an Absa Premiership match at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday night.
The opening 15 minutes proved to be a cagey affair as neither side was really able to hold onto the ball for a sustained period of play and make their presence felt.
Instead, both sides gave possession away cheaply due to some poor passing and bad decision making.
Slowly, though, Ajax started to find their footing in the game and should have opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Toriq Losper had a close range effort on goal. The Ajax man, however, could only fire his timid attempt straight at the keeper when a shot either side of him would have resulted in a goal.
And the Urban warriors were made to pay for that miss four minutes later when Stars took the lead through Luyolo Nomandela.
Some good build-up play saw the Ea Lla Koto attacker with the ball in space inside the box and he made no mistake with a clinical finish to give Free State the lead, 1-0.
Ajax, however, were not to be outdone and quickly hit back, Grandwald Scott finding the equaliser in the 28th minute.
Nhlanhla Shabalala did the initial good work when he saw his attempt on goal well saved by Kennedy Mweene, but Scott was there to pounce on the rebound to level matters, 1-1.
After that, though, it was all the home side as Dove Wome forced Sander Westerveld into a fantastic save in the 34th minute, the keeper acrobatically tipping the attackers effort around the post.
Stars continued to pile on the pressure and found their reward seconds before the half time whistle when Sadat Ouro-Akoriko gave the Ea Lla Koto the lead going into the break thanks to a well-placed shot, 2-1.
The second 45 was a rather tame affair from Ajax who struggled to find their rhythm as they went in search of their second equaliser.
Instead, it was Stars who called the shots and only the keeping of Westerveld kept the visitors in the game.
In the 71st minute Nomandela saw his stinging shot from the edge of the box well saved by the Ajax keeper, tipping the ball around the post.
Westerveld was in action again six minutes later, this time his great reflexes denying Paulus Masehe from inside the box.
Ajax never really created any decent chances in front of goal in the second half as Stars held on for a victory that sees them into the top eight while Ajax slumped to 13th spot.
Free State Stars (2) 2 (Nomandela 20’, Ouro-Akorika 45’)
Ajax Cape Town (1) 1 (Scott 28’)
Free State: Mweene; Thebakang, Ouro-Akorika, Mvula, Wome (Sambu 85’), Cardoso, Masehe, Kerspruy, Esterhuizen (Chivuta 75’), Nomandela, Mashego
Ajax: Westerveld; Allie, Booth, Hlatshwayo, Manyama (Rusike 84’), Shabalala, Billiat, Scott, Jenniker, Losper (Vilakazi 46’), Grobler (Van Graan 77’)