Johannesburg - Malawian striker Robin Ngalande was a Premier League match-winner for Bidwest Wits University for the second successive occasion when he scored the only goal of the game against Ajax Cape Town at the Milpark Stadium on Friday night.
The 20 year-old Ngalande was the solitary goalscorer as well when Wits recently beat Golden Arrows 1-0 to now guide The Students to joint second position in the log table with seven points from their three matches.
Ngalande made the breakthrough with a snappy shot from close-range following a calculated cross from Zimbabwean Denver Mukamba in the 50th minute after Wits had generally looked the more likely team to score in the goalless, but even opening period.
It was 19 year-old Ajax goalkeeper Brandon Petersen, playing in only his second Premier League fixture, who was largely responsible for keeping Wits at bay during the opening half while making three point-blank saves with the aplomb and courage of a veteran.
For the Cape Town combination, however, the second defeat from three matches, in which they have secured only one point, leaves them sharing second bottom position in the log and with the high hopes of securing major honours this season already wavering.
Seasoned Ajax coach Muhsin Ertugral, however, was not deterred and said his youthful combination only needed more experience in the Premier League to “provide the goods.
“I thought we played the more articulate football,” added Ertugral, “while losing concentration in defence to concede a needless goal.
“But it's goals that count and the scoreboard showed a big blank next to Ajax's name at the finish.”
Somewhat surprisingly, Wits coach Gavin Hunt agreed that “the better team did not win this game.
“We played poorly overall and I told the players as much at half-time.
“But we showed great deal of determination and resolution afterwards and that is what wins matches.
“What is more, if you play badly and still end up with the points, its encouraging to think what you can achieve when you play well.”
Wits somewhat surprisingly left players of the calibre of Ryan Chapman and Erwin Isaacs on the bench at the outset, but Ngalande and Subusiso Vilakazi rewarded the faith shown in them by Hunt.
It was the strong-running Vilakazi down the left flank who was mainly instrumental in testing Petersen and he was unlucky not to score.
Ajax showed a good deal of character and spirit in the closing stages and never gave up trying for an equaliser.
Wits needed to bring veteran former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth off the the bench for the last 10 minutes to ensure the team held on to their three points. - Sapa