Arrows demolish Ajax Cape Town
By John Goliath
Not even a power failure of almost an hour could not dim Golden Arrows' performance as they surged their way to a first ever title by demolishing Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in the final of the MTN8 on Saturday night.
Arrows were tactically brilliant on the night, exposing the Cape side's frailties on the left side of defence. Ajax were without regular left backs Brett Evans and Aidan Jennicker for the winner-takes-all R8 million final, with left winger Franklin Cale having to fill in.
But his inexperience in the position was immediately felt, as Arrows targeted him with a plethora of diagonal crosses to his side. This put his central defenders under a lot of pressure and they were all at sea at the back.
This was evident when Arrows opened the scoring in the ninth minute. The Durban side broke the deadlock following a horrendous error in judgement by experienced Ajax goalkeeper and captain Hans Vonk. The former Bafana keeper seemed to misjudge a perfectly weighted diagonal ball by Arrows left back Mzivukile Tom, only for Mjabulo Manqana to round him and slot it home.
Ajax slowly started to get into the game, but couldn'?t really put any attacking moves together. The Durban side pressed the Cape outfit hard in the midfield, which took their combination play right out of the game.
Cale's inexperience at left back was exposed in the 13th minute, with another great diagonal ball from Tom. However, Bafana striker Richard Henyekane's shot went across Vonk's goal.
Seven minutes later, though, Ajax would not be so lucky to escape punishment. The Cape side managed to nullify the first threat on their left side, but the ball managed to find its way to the influential Tom, whose shot was then deflected into his own net by Ajax's Latvian defender Deniss Ivanovs.
The second half was postponed for about an hour after the lights at the newly refurbished stadium went off. The players left the pitch and came back for a 20 minute warm-up before the second half restarted.
Ajax changed their line-up with striker Sifiso Vilakazi coming on for Thulani Serero, while Cole Alexander came on for Clifford Ngobeni. Midfielder Nhlanhla Shabalala went to left back.
But this didn't help the hapless Ajax, as Arrows came out firing and continued where they left off in the first half.
Richard Henyekane was rewarded for his hard work on the park with a tap in the 49th minute, after Monqana's shot was saved by Vonk.
Thokozani Mshengu continued the massacre with a goal in the 66th minute, before midfielder Nhlanhla Zothwane made it 5-0 in the 72nd.
However, Arrows weren't done yet as they the hard-working Manqana got his brace in the stoppage time.