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Football | Absa Premiership

Celtic aim to tame wounded Ajax

Bloemfontein Celtic will be hoping to take advantage of a battered and bruised Ajax Cape Town side when they meet at Athlone Stadium on Tuesday for an Absa Premiership fixture, kick-off at 7:30pm.

Over the past season and a half, the Urban Warriors have been far from their gladiator like selves and they further found themselves suffering the slings and arrows of defeat when Platinum Stars struck three times, in a 3-0 win, last Saturday.

A loss and a draw in 2013 has seen them abdicate their position of 16th place to Chippa United, seeing them slip down into the relegation zone and now fending for PSL survival.

“We were a little bit flat. In some parts we tried to play good football but in the decisive moments we were not there. I think today (Platinum) Stars showed how to use their chances very effectively,” new head coach of Ajax Jan Versleijen said after the game.

“We let ourselves down within the first five minutes. We went a goal down early and being away from home this was not easy for us to recover. We still believed after going down 2-0 that we had a chance to change the game around.”

Ajax are without a win since their 1-0 win over Martizburg United in December 2012 and the coach conceded that a lack of confidence is affecting their play.

“Probably a lack of confidence could be a factor but also the only way of getting out of that position is getting confident and getting results. You can see we have the quality,” he added.

“Overall, we need to add another 10 or 15 percent to our game and show the character (that is missing) to stay in the PSL.”

Nonetheless, the Dutchman still had time to see a silver lining: “So, on a positive side, the players did well to keep playing and trying to get back into the game.”

Bloemfontein Celtic continued their impressive form at home when they outsmarted Bidvest Wits with three goals to nil on Saturday afternoon.

However, it is on their travels were their form hasn’t been so kind and they will be looking to put aside their negative history in the Mother City, in which they have not claimed a victory against Ajax at home for the last nine years.

One player who will be making a return to the club which launched his career will be Dominic Isaacs, and he is still wary of the threat Ajax possess despite their recent form.

“The Wits game was a must win for us because we were at home and we came from a lost against Platinum stars,” says the defender.

“Their past results don’t matter on the day. Ajax are like a wounded animal and that very dangerous. We will, however, play to win.”

Isaacs was all set to make a return to Ikamva in June 2012, but was turned away by then coach Maarten Stekelenburg and he says he holds no grudges.

“I have no hard feelings in coming up against Ajax after they turned me down. In fact, it was their former coach not Ajax,” he concludes.


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