Suicidal moment costs blunt Ajax dearly

ct sptmanyama Gallo Images Lebogang Manyama: weak penalty.

Ajax Cape Town’s miserable season continued when they went down 1-0 to Black Leopards at the Cape Town Stadium yesterday afternoon.

The win was the first in charge for new Leopards coach Ian Palmer, but he had Ajax’s weak efforts in and around goal, as well as a suicidal moment in defence, to thank for the three points, rather than his own team’s brilliance.

The Cape side for the most part dominated the first half, in terms of possession and in the way they took the game to the Limpopo team.

But despite some attractive football, the Urban Warriors were unable to turn their superiority into clear-cut chances on goal, and Leopards keeper Azwindini Maphaha was not overly stretched.

It was to his credit, however, that he moved smartly off his line to get in a block on Khama Billiat on the edge of the penalty area after the Zimbabwean appeared to be in on goal.

Billiat was Ajax’s biggest threat, but too often his final decision-making was poor and opportunities were wasted.

There was a chance also for Lebogang Manyama on the half-hour mark, but his curling shot from 25 yards did not dip quickly enough.

The home side were finally gifted the chance to take the lead 10 minutes after the restart, when Siphamandla Sithole was ruled to have impeded Billiat in the box.

But Manyama’s spot kick was a very weak one and Lidoda Duvha keeper Maphaha was able to make a comfortable save.

It was Ajax who remained in control, continuing to push and probe, but without too much success.

There was always the danger of a goal against the run of play, and that’s exactly what happened with 10 minutes to go when a poor header back towards goal from Aidan Jenniker let in Joshua Obaje to score in a practically unguarded net.

Having struggled throughout the match to cause any damage around the Leopards box, there was not much Ajax could do to muster any kind of comeback as they saw the clock ticking down towards the inevitable.

Meanwhile, fresh off a hard-earned 1-1 draw with Moroka Swallows in their Premiership match in Dobsonville on Friday, Chippa United caretaker coach Farouk Abrahams says his side can compete at the highest level.

“Hats off to my boys, they played with courage and character and I’m just happy that we’re no longer a pushover for other teams,” said Abrahams after the game.

After two games in charge, Abrahams had managed two impressive draws against much-fancied opposition – the first being a 2-2 draw against SuperSport United last week.

Abrahams, a former goalkeeper, believed his team could have even beaten Swallows on their home turf.

“I thought we got the point we deserved, although we should have got all three points, because I thought we created the better chances,” he said.

“They had a lot of possession, but in all the wrong areas and they took a lot of long shots at goal.”

With so little time with his squad, Abrahams said he simply has not had the chance to work on all areas of the game, but instead had chosen to focus on their mental approach.

It seemed to be paying dividends with his team scoring late equalisers in both games since he had taken charge.

“We play without the fear of losing, even if we go a goal down. The philosophy is that it doesn’t mean you’re losing the game. Nobody has scored more than two goals against Chippa United this season and we aim to keep it like that.

“We’re going to go wrong somewhere down the line, but the character is always there to come back and I’m very proud of the boys.”

Chippa had moved to seven points from their 10 league outings, and Abrahams was satisfied with their position.

“It’s only my second game in charge and there are things I can work on, but the positive thing is that it’s two games unbeaten and for me that’s a great start,” he former Bafana goalkeeper coach added. –

Sapa


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