Ajax book TKO final berth
Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town's 2-0 win over AmaZulu at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday night sees them on course to defend their Telkom Knockout cup.
The KZN side had the better of play until around the 70th minute, but it was Ajax who were more clinical in attack, defending bravely with a make-shift defence (missing Clayton Daniels, Denis Ivanovs, Brett Evans and Derek Decamps) before taking the few chances that came their way.
Usuthu will certainly feel hard done by, but in the end the Cape side's superior experience in cup competitions came to the fore as they booked their place in the final.
Their opponents will be decided on Monday, when Orlando Pirates take on Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
Hard work and commitment from AmaZulu ensured Ajax had little to show in attack early on.
Indeed the early stages of the game saw a physical encounter unfolding with fouls committed at a rate of nearly one per minute, which meant that Usuthu had only a single clear-cut chance on goal which saw Dumisani Ngwenya executing a rather weak header from Ayanda Dlamini’s back post cross.
The momentum appeared to be slightly more with the KZN side, yet it was Ajax who went on to score the opening goal with what was basically their first real attack of the match.
Stanton Lewis did the business, sprinting clear though on goal after a superb defence-splitting pass by Dipsy Selolwane in the 33rd minute and doing well to hold off a challenge before sliding the ball past Mbongeni Mzimela.
AmaZulu looked to hit back but Ajax keeper Hans Vonk had no problem keeping out efforts from Tsweu Mokoro and Thami Sangweni, although he was tested more severely with a stinging Marc van Heerden drive just before the break.
After the break the pattern of the game remained the same as the Urban Warriors struggled to find rhythm, their play punctuated by sloppy passes and a lack of invention, while Usuthu enjoyed the better of play but failed to carve out any threat in the final third of the field.
And again the KZN side suffered a sucker-punch as the Cape side secured the comfort of a two goal lead when Nathan Paulse took advantage of some inadequate goal keeping from Mzimela in the 75th minute to head home at the far post.
Mzimela twice found himself marooned far from goal in the closing stages of the game, but off-target shots from Diyo Sibisi and Clifford Ngobeni meant there was no change to the score-line.
Sibisi then put himself forward as a candidate for miss-of-the-season when he struck the bar from eight yards out with an open net gaping in front of him after Mzimela had parried the ball directly into his path.
Three nil would have been rather harsh on AmaZulu, who can only have themselves to blame for not having made their earlier superiority count.
AmaZulu (0) 0
Ajax Cape Town (1) 1 (Lewis 33' Paulse 75')
AmaZulu (4-4-2): Mzimela; Biyela, Chintu, Ariweriyai, Bishop; Mokoro (Ritson 77'), Sangweni, Ngxabi (Sikhakane 67'), van Heerden (Hadebe 85'); Dlamini, Ngwenya
Ajax (4-4-2): Vonk; Maluleka, Allie, Shabalala, Jenniker; Doutie, Selolwane, Ngobeni, Scott (Diallo 81'); Paulse, Lewis (Sibisi 65').