Ajax hold on for vital win

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IOL wits ajax Gallo Images Mark Culvert during the Adidas penalty shootout challenge at the Absa Premiership match between Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits at Cape Town Stadium. Picture: Carl Fourie

Cape Town - Ajax Cape Town survived a late onslaught of pressure from Wits to record a 1-0 win at the Cape Town Stadium in a Premiership fixture on Friday night.

The result put to an end a run of two consecutive defeats for the Cape side.

The Urban Warriors made a bright start, looking the more attack-minded of the teams as the Wits defence found themselves under some early pressure.

Ajax's positive approach paid off after just four minutes when Nathan Paulse got to the byline before pulling the ball across goal.

His cross was inadequately dealt with by the visitors' defence, allowing Karl Lark to pounce from close range with a shot into the roof of the net.

Ajax were happy to sit back and let Wits have the ball in front of them, looking to catch the Johannesburg team on the break with quick counter-attacks, which meant that although the Students had a lot of the ball, they were never really able to get close enough to goal to pose any serious threats.

The Clever Boys did, however, create a couple of decent opportunities to muster a reply, but Robin Ngalande fired a 25-yard shot over an empty net after Ajax keeper Anssi Jaakkola had come off his line, the Finnish keeper then making a good block to turn Matthew Pattison's stinging low drive around the corner.

Midway through the stanza there was another close call for Ajax's keeper as he dropped a corner kick, with Matthew Booth narrowly missing at the back post as a result.

Jaakolla was again called into action nine minutes before the break, doing superbly to tip Onismor Bhasera's deflected shot wide.

A 10-man Wits came out for the second half on the front foot, Jaakolla again coming up trumps when he saved Bhasera's low 20-yard shot in the 52nd minute.

Two minutes later and Ajax wasted a superb chance to add a second as Keegan Dolly ran all of 35-yards by himself towards the goal before sending his parting shot just over the bar.

It was Wits though who did most of the second half pressing, pushing forward in wave after wave, despite having a man less.

Ajax survived a big scare two minutes from time when Aidan Jenniker somehow managed to clear the ball off his line from a goalmouth scramble.

The pressure was relentless from the Clever Boys during added time, with Papy Faty wasting a good chance when he skied a shot over the bar from inside the box. - Sapa


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