SuperSport United cut Ajax Cape Town’s lead at the top of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to one point after a superb goal by Dane Klate gave the hosts a 3-2 victory over Ajax at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on Tuesday night.
Kermit Erasmus scored his first goal for Matsatsantsa in the 23rd minute, but Nathan Paulse equalised six minutes later for the Cape club. Franklyn Cale put the visitors in the lead in the 50th minute, but SuperSport came back via the boot of Katlego Mashego, who struck in the 68th minute.
Klate finally won the game for United with a superb strike in the 72nd minute. United are now serious contenders for the R10-million first prize.
Erasmus stung Hans Vonk’s palms with a blistering shot from 22m out, the stocky striker cleverly turning his marker before shooting, but the veteran keeper leapt to his left to deny the 18-year-old his first goal for United.
In the 16th minute, SuperSport winger Klate forced Vonk over the goal-line with a powerful free-kick from the edge of the big box, but the former Ajax Amsterdam goalie kept the ball from crossing the line.
There was no stopping Erasmus in the 23rd minute, though. Tefera Fikru played a simple pass that Ajax defender Eduardo Ferreira seemed to have covered, but the Brazilian slipped and this gave Erasmus a one-on-one chance with Vonk, whom he curled the ball around.
The players and the fans were ecstatic, but six minutes later the log leaders equalised.
Ajax left back Brett Evans played a hopeful ball through to Paulse, and in similar fashion to Ferreira, SuperSport defender Thabo September mis-timed trapping the ball, allowing the lanky striker a one-on-one with Denis Onyango.
Paulse coolly picked his spot and then blasted the ball in to the net.
Klate and Erasmus were in a menacing mood and troubled Ferreira and company with their nimble touches. Nevertheless, they could not beat Vonk, who pulled off two reflex saves from both youngsters and kept the scoreline level in to the break.
Ajax’s stout winger Cale, who had a quiet first half, put his team in the lead five minutes after the break. Another defensive error, this time by Siboniso Gaxa, gave Cale the space to curl the ball around Onyango.
United were stunned, and coach Gavin Hunt introduced South Africa international striker Mashego and Dennis Masina for Fikru and Shane Poggepoel respectively on the hour mark.
The gambit paid off when Mashego slotted home a free-kick from the edge of the area in the 68th minute. SuperSport players packed the 18-yard area and obstructed Vonk’s sight of the ball, and although the keeper went in the right direction, the ball was out of his reach and flew in to the back of the net.
SuperSport then attacked menacingly, with Klate and Erasmus dangerous up front. The nippy striker missed a glorious chance for his second goal when Mashego sent in a pin-point cross that Erasmus headed over.
Nevertheless, Klate won the game for United with a brilliant finish in the 72nd minute. Gaxa sent a raking pass to Klate from his half, and the youngster’s superb first touch set him up for a fine finish that Vonk just could not stop.
Hunt threw defender Siphiwe Mkhonza on for the last 10 minutes, obviously holding on for victory, and although Ajax pressed hard for another equaliser, their hosts celebrated wildly and are now a point behind them on the PSL table. — Sapa