Ajax sink the Sea Robbers
Ajax Cape Town progressed to the last four of the MTN8 after a surprise 2-1 win over Orlando Pirates at Coca-Cola Park on Wednesday evening.
Goals from Thulani Serero and Dipsy Selolwane saw the Urban Warriors secure victory, while Katlego Mashego scored for the Buccaneers.
The early stages of the game were disrupted by numerous fouls committed from both teams, though referee Buyile Gqubule sensibly kept his cards in his pocket and gave the sides a little leeway in their first competitive fixture of the season.
Pirates had more of the possession in the first half but the first 30 minutes saw Ajax look far more dangerous going forward, with Franklin Cale, Diyo Sibisi and Thulani Serero combining well.
On 18 minutes they silenced the home crowd, with Serero heading the ball past goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs after a good cross into the penalty area from Sibisi. The goal may have come on a counter attack but the Urban Warriors were good value for the lead.
The Buccaneers finally clicked through the gears in the latter part of the first half and started to create some pressure from their possession, but they rarely threatened Hans Vonk in the Ajax goal.
The closest Pirates came was a flick on from a corner kick by Thulasizwe Mbuyane that rebounded off the upright.
The Soweto side continued their dominance in the early stages of the second half and finally brought themselves level on 53 minutes when Mashego scored direct from a free kick, a superb strike that found the top corner of Vonk’s net.
Pirates looked likely to go and win the game outright as Ajax huffed and puffed in the rarefied Highveld air, but on 77 minutes they were left stunned when the Cape side reclaimed the lead.
Sibisi was again the architect, finding Selolwane on the edge of the box with a precise pass. The Botswana player, with the help of a deflection off a Pirates defender, found the back of the net with his low shot and put Ajax back in front.
The visitors held out in a brave defensive performance, though they did have their heart-in-mouth moments as the Buccaneers threw numbers forward in a desperate search for an equaliser.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Mashego 53’)
Ajax Cape Town (1) 2 (Serero 18’, Selolwane 77’)
Pirates: Josephs, Jele, Thwala, Makonese, Lekgwathi, Mabalane, Mhlongo, Manyisa (Kamwendo 46’), Modise, Mbuyane (Mthembu 71’), Mashego
Ajax: Vonk, Shabalala, Hlatshwayo, Daniels, Evans, Serero (Alexander 79’), Ngobeni (Davids 64’), Selolwane, Doutie, Cale, Sibisi (Vilakazi 81’)
Cautions: Kamwendo, Mabalane; Sibisi, Shabalala