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Two goals in two minutes from Thabo Mosadi and Ndiviwe Mdabuka in the final 20 minutes ensured Ajax’s first home win of the season and their second in the row as they moved clear of the relegation zone.
“I’m very proud of this team. We’ve come out of a difficult situation and the performance was great,” said their new coach Stanley menzo. “This is what they deserved.’
It was on the tight hand side of Sundowns’ defence that Ajax set up both goals with square ball.
Bantu Mzwakali was the provider for Mosadi’ goal and two minutes later some magical footwork from mark Mayambela gave Mdabuka an easy tap-in.
“We made mistakes, we were late but I must congratulate Ajax’s coach for his planning,” said Pitso Mosimane. “We lost to a good team. We did have chances but we need to give credit where it is due.”
Action was furious from the outset with Mdabuka firing the first shot over the bar inside the opening minute.
Prince Nxumalo shot across the face of goal in the 10th minute as Ajax kept up their attacking approach and could have been ahead 10 minutes later when Mayambela’s dribble down the left hand side set up a chance but his shot was too soft to test Denis Onyango.
Sundowns, who have not likely faced as attacking an opponent as Ajax this season, had their first chance after 23 minutes when Tiyani Madunda had space to finish Wayne Arendse’s header from a corner but he missed the target.
Mayambela squandered a gilt-edged chance in the 28th minute when Mosadi’s burst of pace saw him round the Sundowns defence and lay the ball back that was blasted high and wide.
There was a second chance within a minute as Mdabuka won the ball in midfield and bore down on goal, only to put his effort wide.
Sundowns had another chance in the 33rd minute but Sibusiso Vilakazi’s first touch let him down and then Percy Tau and Mzikayise Mashaba got in each other’s way.
Hlompho Kekana then blasted a long range shot that dipped viciously and hit the top of the crossbar to remind Ajax of their defensive duties.
After the break, Themba Zwane missed a good chance and Vilakazi also had a chance with the Ajax defence split.
But stout defending from Ajax, marshaled superbly by Rivaldo Coetzee, kept Sundown at bay, even after they brought the CBD on as second half substitutes with Keegan Dolly, Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro all brought on but without any effect.