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15 Dec 2007 21:46
After what Santos coach Jean-Marc Itthier described as “a blood and thunder” derby, the “people’s team” toppled Premier League leaders Ajax Cape Town 2-1 at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Saturday night after overcoming a torrid second half.
Santos led 1-0 at the interval via a superb, swerving 28th minute free-kick from Thando Mngomeni.
It was a different story in the second period as Ajax launched a ferocious comeback in a bid to cement their position as frontrunners in the PSL title race.
Within six minutes foraging Brazilian central defender Eduardo Ferreira had scored an equaliser for Ajax that left the Santos defence looking bewildered.
But the log leaders appeared to lose concentration while celebrating their goal as they conceded a penalty only two minutes later when lanky Eleazer Rodgers was fouled in the area and Erwin Isaacs’ immaculate spot-kick gave Hans Vonk no chance.
Ajax played with grim resolve to get on equal terms a second time and the Santos defence led a charmed life as a sequence of attacks rained on their goal.
But Ajax’s despairing efforts received scant reward, with Lee Langeveldt in Santos’ goal saving the day on two occasions with brave, point-blank saves.
On another occasion Santos’s central defender Craig Bianchi cleared off the goal line. In a desperate effort to equalise, Ajax striker Tera Fanteni, who will be joining Maccabi Haifa later in the month, might have imagined he was going to Israel to play basketball as he guided the ball into the net with an outstretched hand.
But referee Ace Ncobo was on the spot to neutralise the goal and hand the Ajax striker a yellow card for his efforts.
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