Ajax bounce back to beat Maritzburg
Ajax Cape Town picked up a much-needed three points when they edged out Maritzburg United 1-0 in an Absa Premiership game played at the Athlone Stadium on a windy Friday night.
The only goal in a tight game came five minutes from time and was scored by midfielder Toriq Losper.
There was an early scare for the home side when a slip-up by Mathew Booth nearly let in Ryan de Jongh, but Sean Roberts did well to move off his line quickly to make the intercept.
Bradley Grobler had the first chance for Ajax, but having controlled the ball neatly, his parting shot was fired wildly into the stands.
With a quarter of an hour gone it was the hosts who came close to scoring when Khama Billiat’s shot on the half volley dipped just over the bar.
Around the 25 minute mark the Urban Warriors began to seize the initiative, but despite their territorial advantage, the hosts were unable to find the killer ball needed.
United lost a member of their bench when assistant coach Ronnie Kanalelo was red-carded, together with physio Burger van der Merwe.
Three minutes before the break Shu-aib Walters did well to keep Ajax off the score-sheet as he moved swiftly off his line and showed a strong arm to deny Lebo Manyama.
Ernst Middendorp’s side had the first two chances after the restart, but from distance, neither Thabang Matuka nor Mthokizisi Yende caused any worries for Roberts.
The hosts suffered a setback midway through the second half when Booth was forced off by injury, resulting in a debut for young Taariq Fielies.
Like in the opening stanza, Ajax began to exert more pressure on their opponents as the half wore on, but again struggled to create any real threats.
Finally the breakthrough came though, five minutes from time, as a dangerous run by Wanderson saw the ball falling to Toriq Losper, who swept a well-taken shot into the far post.
United nearly replied a minute later, but Delron Buckley had to watch as his shot glided past the post by a matter of inches.
Ajax Cape Town (0) 1 (Losper 86’)
Maritzburg United 0
Ajax: Roberts, Lolo, Booth (Fielies 65’), Mokeke, Jenniker, Manyama (Wanderson 70‘), Graham, Losper, Scott, Billiat, Grobler (Rusike 82’)
Maritzburg: Walters, Petersen, M Booysen, Hendricks, Cloete, de Jongh, Morton, Buckley, Matuka (Mandaza 68‘), Yende, Malajila (Sarfo-Gyamfi 73’)