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Maritzburg began brightly with sharp passing and a bit of confidence about them in the opening 15 minutes.

Pietermaritzburg - Second-half goals by Bongolethu Jayiya and Michael Morton helped Maritzburg United keep alive their top eight Premiership prospects with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ajax Cape Town, at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, on Friday night.

Jayiya opened the scoring after 49 minutes following some enterprising build-up play down the left, with captain Morton adding a 64th minute second from the penalty spot as the Team of Choice moved to 11th place on the table.

That put them four points adrift of AmaZulu in eighth spot, while the visitors stayed 10th.

Maritzburg began brightly with sharp passing and a bit of confidence about them in the opening 15 minutes when their best chance came via a misdirected Terrance Mandaza header from a powerful Rheece Evans cross.

Tashreeq Morris had the first opening for Ajax in the 10th and it was a superb one-on-one after Eleazar Rodgers flicked on a long ball from Anssi Jaakkola, but the forward shot straight at the feet of the onrushing Shuaib Walters.

Midway through the half, Heinrich Isaacks had the beating of Jaakkola at the other end, only for his shot through the goalkeepers' legs to dribble wide after the Namibian beat his man in the air.

Mohammed Awal then drew an acrobatic save out of Jaakkola when his header from a Jayiya free-kick was well held by the Ajax custodian.

Granwald Scott and Toriq Losper had 25-yard shots whisk just over before the break, while Thamsanqa Mkhize and Nhlanhla Vilakazi headed off target for the hosts with the scoreline goalless at the changeover.

But United wasted little time in hitting the lead after the break as Ruben Cloete swung over an excellent cross from the left, which was cushioned down by the head of Isaacks allowing Jayiya to crash home.

Ajax tried to respond with a thumping shot from Scott warming the hands of Walters, before the home side hit them with a second goal.

This time it was from the penalty spot as Nazeer Allie was penalised for slicing down Vilakazi in the box and Morton made no mistake by wrong-siding Jaakkola.

Again Ajax came back strongly from the goal with Walters having to throw himself to his right to keep out Koen Van de Laak's 25-yard hit.

The United keeper then made a stunning save to deny Rodgers - a point-blank effort tipped over by the former Bafana Bafana man after an inviting right-side cross by Toriq Losper.

Moments earlier Jaakkola denied Mandaza at his feet, while Isaacks scuffed an open chance at the death, but the home side still sealed a comfortable win. - Sapa


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