Sundowns edge Ajax
Khama Billiat (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns booked their place in the Nedbank Cup last 16 after edging out Ajax Cape Town 1-0 at the Athlone Stadium on Friday night.
The visiting team were the dominant side throughout the game and were deserved winners after having created the bulk of the chances on the night.
The home side found themselves on the back foot for most of the opening half, Sundowns on top from the kick off.
The Tshwane side however suffered a seventh minute setback when striker Katlego Mashego was forced off with injury, being replaced by Rodney Ramagalela.
The Brazilians were certainly the more potent looking side on attack, but all too often appeared to run out of ideas when they reached the Ajax box.
Teko Modise was close to netting the opener on half an hour, sending in an inch-perfect shot from out wide on the right, but Urban Warriors keeper Brandon Petersen did well to tip the ball over his bar.
Petersen was again up to the task a few minutes later, getting down low to turn Anthony Laffor's curling effort away from goal.
Ajax ended the first half in an attacking vein, but failed to test Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who was a spectator for the entire first 45 minutes.
After the break the exchanges were evenly shared as Ajax tried to up their game. But the hosts were to find themselves 1-0 down on the hour mark when former Black Leopards striker Rodney Ramagalela sent a scorching drive from 20-yards out into the top corner, a diving Petersen unable to reach the inch-perfect strike.
The Brazilians had chances to add a second goal soon after, but Laffor struck the side-netting while Modise sent a shot just over.
The closing moments of the game were tense, with a host of players going into the referee's book, including Dominic Isaacs, who was sent off at the death after a second yellow.
Ajax tried to mount a late fight back, but the Pretoria team were able to play out the final minutes with relative ease to book their passage in the next round.
Ajax Cape Town 0
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1 (Ramagalela 60’)
Ajax Cape Town: Petersen, Lolo, Allie, Isaacs, Lebusa, Ernesto, Mobara, Scott (Alexander 66’), Losper (Morris 54’), Dolly, Lark (Rodgers 57’)
Mweene; Mashaba, Schut, Moon, Pelembe, Laffor, Nthethe, Zungu, Modise,
Billiat (Sumaila 90+2’), Mashego (Ramagalela 7’ [Nyandoro 80’] )