Pirates demolish Ajax Cape Town

Orlando Pirates got their Absa Premiership campaign back on track when they demolished second-placed Ajax Cape Town 3-0 at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

The Buccaneers showed that their 3-1 win in
their last match at the same venue against Bloemfontein Celtic was no fluke and sent out a warning to Premiership leaders and defending champions SuperSport United that they mean business come the end of this shortened season.

Ajax had come into the match unbeaten in their last five league games and remained second on 28 points despite the loss. Bucs, with 27 points, are now breathing down their necks. However, Pirates are still six points behind SuperSport who edged out Maritzburg United 3-2 at Loftus earlier on Saturday.

It was a tough introduction to the Premier Soccer League to Ajax’s new coach Foppe de Haan.
The Dutch-born coach, who was in charge of Heerenveen and Ajax Amsterdam, faced a tough PSL baptism and now knows he faces a tough battle in the second round of the Premiership.

The pitch which had been heavily criticised recently looked in a lot better shape thanks to the two-week Fifa international break and the rains that fell in the Johannesburg area this week.

Both teams produced a fast and furious opening 45 minutes in which neither side took any prisoners. It was great entertainment, with neither side giving an inch.

Bucs took control after Ajax looked sharp during the opening five minutes. It was during this spell that Ajax winger Franklyn Cale took the first shot in anger in the fifth minute which sailed wide of the upright.

Two minutes later the Urban Warriors’ veteran keeper Hans Vonk did superbly when he turned Thulasizwe Mbuyane’s shot for a corner after some brilliant build-up work from Josephy Kamwendo and a pin-point cross from Dikgang Mabalane.

The pressure paid off for Bucs and the 15 000 plus fans that braved a chilly night when Katlego Mashego latched on to a half clearance and fired through a cluster of defenders to put Pirates 1-0 ahead in the 28th minute.

The Buccaneers almost made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark when Phenyo Mongala twisted the Ajax defence inside out only to miss the target by centimetres.

Ajax’s best effort came in the 35th minute when striker Diyo Sibisi was fractionally wide with a good shot.

But Pirates kept up the relentless pressure after the break and hit Ajax with pace at the start of the second half. Botswana international Mongalo, who is fast establishing himself as a crowd favourite, blasted home the second goal in the 53rd minute when he was in unmarked space and steered the ball wide of the advancing Vonk from inside the Urban Warriors’ penalty area.

The icing on the cake came in the 71st minute when defender Rooi Mahamutsa made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Ajax defender Nazeer Allie handled the ball inside his penalty area.

After the third goal it was game over and the Urban Warriors were well beaten although determined not to repeat the 6-0 humiliation they suffered against Arrows in the MTN8 cup final at the same venue last month. - Sapa

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