Durban - Bradley Grobler’s first-half strike was enough to help Ajax Cape Town end a three-match losing streak with a narrow 1-0 Premiership victory over 10-man AmaZulu in Durban on Saturday night.
The Bafana Bafana striker scored in the 43rd minute with a neat finish at the near post after a low cross from the right by Nhlanhla Vilakazi.
The goal came moments after the dismissal of Ramson Zhuwawo, who was shown a straight red card for an over-the-top challenge on Grobler.
The win for the Cape side, who moved clear of the relegation zone, came just days after they sacked Dutch coach Maarten Stekelenburg and replaced him temporarily with assistant Johannes Pruin.
Defeat for the hosts, meanwhile, piled the pressure on their coach, Roger Palmgren, as they remained bottom of the log.
Ajax had the first opening after six minutes when a poor clearance fell to Lebogang Manyama on the edge of the box, with his shot excellently caught by goalkeeper Philani Zikalala, diving to his right.
On the other side of the field, Kagiso Senamela played a terrific defence-splitting pass into the path of Dumisani Zwane, who arrowed wide.
The visitors looked dangerous whenever they ventured forward and Thulani Hlatshwayo should have done better than head Paul Rusike’s free-kick over the crossbar from a promising position eight metres out.
Midway through the half, Senamela linked up well with forwards Ayanda Dlamini and Dulee Johnson, but he dragged his attempt well wide.
Dlamini then curled over with an angled shot from the left, before the dismissal of Zimbabwean Zhuwawo, who had no argument with referee Lwandile Mfiki.
Five minutes later Grobler put the visitors in front when he expertly turned in.
AmaZulu tried to respond, but Carlington Nyadombo headed Dulee Johnson’s free-kick over as they trailed 1-0 at the interval.
To their credit, Palmgren’s men came out attacking after the break despite being one man down, but they battled to create openings.
The game had to wait till after the hour mark for the next real effort, when Grobler cut inside from the left side of the area and shot towards the right corner where Zikalala intercepted.
Vilakazi was next to test the home goalkeeper with a strong shot from 25 metres out that was parried away.
AmaZulu’s best chance to take something from the game came with four minutes remaining when a loose ball fell to substitute Goodman Dlamini near the penalty spot, but he blazed over.