Goals from Khethowakhe Masuku and Thabo Matlaba pushed Orlando Pirates to a 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night.
It was the Buccaneers first win of 2014 at the third time of asking, having failed to defeat either SuperSport United or AmaZulu in either of their two previous catch-up games this month.
Right from the off, Ajax were more than prepared to sit back, soak up whatever Pirates could throw at them and look to hit on the counter attack. As a result, the Buccaneers enjoyed the majority of possession, though the visitors’ deep-lying defence meant they were restricted to long range efforts that were no real threat.
Ajax goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola did have to make a few straightforward saves from the likes of Helder Pelembe, Lehlogonolo Maselesa and Thandani Ntshumayelo, but they were speculative efforts he didn’t look particularly troubled by.
However, in the 36th minute, the ‘keeper somehow allowed a cross from Khethowakhe Masuku to drift by his hands and find the top corner of the net. It was a lucky goal for Bucs, but one they arguably deserved given their dominance of the ball.
The Urban Warriors perked up after conceding the goal, but struggled to mount anything meaningful in attack, as the clouds above the stadium opened and forced the players to operate in a strong downpour up to half time.
It took Pirates just over 10 minutes of the second half to add to their advantage. Aubrey Ngoma’s pass from the left found Thabo Matlaba just inside the box and the defender placed a perfect curling shot beyond Jaakkola’s reach to make it 2-0.
Bucs seemed to relax after going two goals up and were given a wake-up call with just under 20 minutes to play when Ajax pulled one back. A long throw-in was poorly dealt with by Pirates’ defence, the ball was knocked down for Granwald Scott, who turned and volleyed a shot that was too hot for Senzo Meyiwa to handle.
Pelembe almost restored a two-goal advantage to the hosts on 75 minutes, powering a Masuku cross on target only for Jaakkola to produce an outstanding save to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Masuku 36’, Matlaba 56’)
Ajax Cape Town (0) 1 (Scott 71’)
Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Lekgwathi, Gcaba, Matlaba, Manyisa, Masalesa, Ntshumayelo, Masuku (Klate 84’), Pelembe (Erasmus 90+2’), Ngoma (Malongoane 75’)
Ajax: Jaakkola, Hlatshwayo, Isaacs, Krjauklis, Jenniker, Lolo (Morris 62’), Alexander, Scott (Mzwakali 82’), Dolly, Mokeke (Losper 27’), Rodgers – Backpage Media