Orlando Pirates wrecked Ajax Cape Town’s unbeaten Absa Premiership record when they defeated the out-of-sorts Urban Warriors 3-0 at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
It was Bucs’ biggest win of the season and sent out a warning to other clubs that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the chase for the league title this season.
It was a double setback for Ajax who had defender Thulani Hlatshwayo sent off for a second bookable offence in the 71st minute.
The visitors lost the plot after the first goal in the 11th minute. They showed little appetite for the game and were lucky not to have suffered a worse defeat against a rampant Pirates side who are now level on 11 points with Ajax and Kaizer Chiefs.
Ajax were forced to take the field weakened with the loss of strikers Terror Fanteni, Thulani Serero and Sameehg Doutie who were all suspended.
This performance underlines the fact Ajax have little hope of winning the championship as they have not enough quality players in their squad to replace those key players injured or suspended.
And with a makeshift attack the Urban Warriors never threatened Pirates goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs in a one-sided first half or in the second 45 minutes.
Ajax veteran keeper Hans Vonk was busy and worked harder than any other Ajax player on the field. His goal was under siege from the kick-off.
He could do little to prevent Bucs taking the lead in the 11th minute when Malawian international Chiukepo Msowoya scored with one of the best goals of the season when his tracer bullet from 35 metres flew into the back of the net.
It was a stunning strike which had the small but appreciative crowd of about 8 000 on their feet. This goal will stand the test of time and should be in the running for Goal of the Season.
Earlier Andile Jali had his long-range shot well saved by Vonk in the eighth minute as Bucs took the initiative and went for the early goal.
Jali, who is only 20, showed he is improving with every game and it will not be long before he is a fixture with Bafana Bafana.
Former Ajax midfield star Clifford Ngobeni then tried his luck with a 20-metre effort which flew centimetres wide of the woodwork in he 15th minute.
Two minutes later, Bucs’ magical Zambian midfielder Isaac Chansa brought out the best in Vonk with another good looking 20-metre drive that the former Bafana Bafana keeper did well to stop and prevented the home side going 2-0 ahead.
Ajax’s only real attacking move was broken up by defender Robyn Johannes in the 35th minute when his timely tackle prevented Clayton Daniels taking a strike at goal.
But a minute later, Daine Klate, who was running rings around the shaky Ajax defence, smashed a shot against the post.
The second half deteriorated into a scrappy midfield battle with far too many passes from both sides going astray.
The Buccaneers should have made it 2-0 in the 69th minute but Klate missed a great chance when he failed to connect a good cross from Dikgang Mabalane with the open goal gaping at him.
Then Ajax suffered another setback when defender Hlatshwayo was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 71st minute.
Bucs capitalised almost immediately when Klate made no mistake in the 74th minute. He collected a pass from Msowoya and beat Vonk with a low hard drive into the far corner to make it 2-0 and seal the three points.
Super sub Tlou Segolela put the icing on top of this fine win when he outpaced the sluggish Ajax defence to beat Vonk in the 88th minute to make it 3-0.
Segolela could have added a fourth deep into injury time but his shot was deflected by Vonk for a corner. – Sapa