Ajax Cape Town improved their chances to challenge the Absa Premiership log with a 2-0 win over Moroka Swallows at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
While some of the home side’s finishing was not always up to scratch, their overall play and their creativity and speed in attack was at times breath-taking.
But in the end Ajax really had to grind down a resolute Swallows, doing so thanks to an early second half goal from Brent Carelse and a goal near the death from Sameehg Doutie.
Early action was lively to say the least, with no place for the feint-hearted as some hefty challenges came in; Swallows Ashraf Hendricks in particular in non-compromising move.
There were not any clear-cut chances early on, but Greg Etafia, back in goal for the Birds, had to be on top of his game to stop Thulani Serero’s well-connected 20-yard drive in the 14th minute, while soon after Thulani Hlatshwayo wasted a chance with a weak back-post header following one of several corners earned by Ajax early on.
Swallows then began to find some rhythm as Siyabonga Nomvethe sprung into action, but Ajax keeper Hans Vonk remained untested.
The home side were forced into an early change: Terror Fanteni leaving the field inside 30 minutes after clashing with Gareth Ncaca.
In the 32nd minute Granwald Scott went on a breathtaking run, but he couldn’t beat Etafia from a tight angle out on the left.
The final 10 minutes of the first half certainly belonged to Ajax as the likes of Sameehg Doutie, Serero and Billiat came to life.
But Swallows just about managed to repel everything that came into their box, despite the pace and pressure they faced from the nippy Urban Warriors attackers.
The Cape side should really have been 1-0 up in the 50th minute, but Doutie was guilty of a terrible miss, sweeping the ball wide with Etafia awol after having flapped at a back post cross.
And within a minute Doutie had squandered another chance when he miscued from 10-yards out after some world-class skill from Serero.
But Ajax persisted and finally made the breakthrough as Serero skipped to the by-line and then played a sensational ball back through his own legs to Carelse, who did the business with a low shot from 10-yards – 1-0 to Ajax after 66 minutes.
The Urban Warriors continued to attack, with Doutie close on several occasions to picking out Serero, who was also unlucky perhaps not to earn a penalty.
For the most part, Swallows could only chase Ajax shadows, with little chance of creating an equaliser as they reeled under the intensity and speed showed by the Cape team.
Ajax finally consolidated their win in the 89th minute when Doutie netted from close range, profiting from a wonderful bit of work down the left from Billiat.-Backpagepix