Non-stop action in Absa Premiership clashes
Ajax Cape Town had a second half meltdown as they went down 4-2 to AmaZulu at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
Ajax started the game as the more enterprising side and dominated proceedings from kick-off.
However, for the most part their play in the final third of the field lacked invention and there was a lack of clear cut chances.
Brent Carelse had half a chance from a tight angle in the third minute while five minutes later, Terror Fanteni should have done better than volley weakly at Tapuwa Kapini from close range.
Usuthu looked unconvincing going forward and had to wait until the 23rd minute for their first real chance, which saw Sander Westerveld pulling off a good save from a goal bound Ayanda Dlamini.
But 10 minutes later, the Durban side were ahead when Nazier Allie dithered at the back after being put under pressure from Westerveld’s pass, allowing Goodman Dlamini to net with relative ease.
The Urban Warriors were able to draw level briefly when Matthew Booth squeezed in a shot past keeper Tapuwa Kapini after 70 minutes.
But the lead was short-lived as Tamsanqa Sangweni scored an amazing free kick—from 36 metres out the ball flew into the top corner.
AmaZulu extended their lead when Goodman Dlamini netted from close range with seven minutes to go.
The hosts though threatened an unlikely comeback when Allie bundled the ball over the line in the 89th minute.
Ajax, spurred on by Booth, pushed hard for an equaliser, but it was at the other end that the final goal came as Joseph Lekata made it 4-2 deep into injury time.
Chiefs lose ground
Kaizer Chiefs lost ground in the Premiership title race after a goalless draw against Golden Arrows at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
In a match of contrasting halves, both sides spurned several chances in the opening period before almost going to sleep in the second 45 minutes which was overshadowed with what appeared to be a serious head injury to visiting goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
The Amakhosi skipper clashed heads with Arrows striker Thamsanqa Gabuza and had to be replaced by Arthur Bartman, before both sides played to a 0-0 score line, which left the Soweto club in fourth place and the home side in 12th.
In a spectacular start to the game, Chiefs were twice denied by Nkosi Gumede, while Khune also made two saves early on.
After four minutes, George Lebese belted a loose ball from just outside the box towards the left corner where a diving Gumede scrambled the ball away for a corner.
From the ensuing set-piece, Dominic Isaacs headed powerfully, but straight at the feet of the Arrows goalkeeper.
The Umlazi club responded with two chances of their own three minutes later.
First Dillon Sheppard crossed expertly from the left but Philani Shange’s strike was closed down quickly by Khune.
Khune was again on when he threw himself to his left to keep out a Siyabonga Nkosi strike from 22 metres out that was curling towards the top corner.
The intense start continued with Lehlohonolo Majoro glancing a backward header just wide from an acute angle.
Muhsin Ertugral’s men should have taken the lead midway through the half when Sheppard floated in a free-kick perfectly from the right, but Musa Bilankulu somehow headed wide from five metres out.
On the half-hour mark, Khune almost embarrassed his opposite number with a long clearance that bounced awkwardly and needed to be cleared for a corner, while Gumede dived to his left to tip away Masango’s rifled 18 metre effort.
That brought an end to an enthralling first half and after the restart, Abafana Bes’thende came closest to scoring when Sheppard cut through the middle and played Collins Mbesuma in, but the Zambian’s strike bounced off the upright.
Chiefs almost capitalised on an error from the Arrows defence when Masango was clean through, but saw his shot blocked by Gumede, before Nale shot wide.
Play was held up for over eight minutes after a clash of heads between Khune and substitute Gabuza.
Majoro came closest in normal time with a rising shot from 22 metres out.
There were 11 minutes added at the end after the Khune injury, with Sthembiso Ngcobo heading wide at the back post from a pin-point Masango cross after two of them had past.
Substitute Katlego Mashego almost won it for Arrows when his placed shot towards the top corner was tipped over for a corner kick as the match ended goalless.
Orlando Pirates recovered from last weekend’s Nedbank Cup defeat to Free State Stars, beating the visitors 3-1 in their Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium.
Benni McCarthy and Tukelo Rantie scored for the defending champions while Edward Manqele scored for Ea lla Koto.
Ranti opened the scoring in the 2nd minute for the Buccaneers out of individual brilliance which saw him run at the Stars defence before blasting the ball to the back of the net.
Stars’ real chance to level matters in the first stanza fell to Mzikayise Mashaba in the 26th minute but his shot flew wide off the left upright to the relief of Pirates goalkeeper Moneeb Josephs.
Rantie whose pace proved to be a handful for the Stars defence nearly got his second of the night in the 31st minute but was brought down inside the box but referee Zolile Mthetho turned down penalty shouts from Pirates.
Pirates coach Augusto Palacios was forced to make a substitution in the 39th minute, replacing injured defender Rooi Mahamutsa with Lizo Mjepu.
Stars resumed the second half like a house on fire and their constant raids in the Bucs half paid dividends in the 49th minute, Dove Wome setting up Manqele for his 11th goal of the season.
The goal seemed to spark a new sense of belief in Steve Komphela’s men and forced Palacious to make a tactical change, bringing Tlou Segolela on for Bester.
Ranti was at it again in the 58th minute harassing the Stars defence and was hacked down by Ouro Sadate inside the box.
This time referee Mthetho awarded the spot kick subsequently booking the defender and McCarthy beat goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to give Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Manqele was back again to haunt Pirates but his powerful strike inside the box was blocked by the diving Josephs to deny the league’s top scorer his second of the night in the 65th minute.
McCarthy’s class was on display in 78th minute as he set up Rantie who made no mistake putting Pirates 3-1 ahead with a well taken shot.
The win sees Pirates remain second on the table, two points behind log-leaders Sundowns who played to a goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Botshabelo Stadium.—Sapa.