PIETERMARITZBURG – Evans Rusike scored a brace as Maritzburg United maintained their 100 percent Absa Premiership record with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ajax Cape Town at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Zimbabwean headed in the opener on the half-hour before doubling the advantage in the 65th minute as the Team of Choice moved joint-top of the table.
Maritzburg, who have won all three games this term – two in the league and one in the MTN8 – made a bright start.
They had the opening chance of the game in the fifth minute when Rusike used his pace to dart to the right, before crossing low to the near post, where Lebohang Maboe shot just wide.
Five minutes later and there was another opening for the hosts. This time Siphesihle Ndlovu forced a save out of Brandon Petersen with a low 18-yard shot that was headed towards the left corner.
At the other end, Ajax had their first chance before the 15-minute mark when Tashreeq Morris planted a free header from Rodrick Kabwe’s corner over the crossbar.
Pogiso Sanoka’s optimistic shot for Maritzburg was then struck wide from distance, before the opening goal arrived on the half-hour.
It came when an inviting right-side cross from Bandile Shandu was met by a towering Rusike header as the home side went 1-0 up.
Five minutes before the break, the goal-scorer twice came close to doubling the lead. First Rusike broke free on the right and sent a tumbling shot across the face of goal, before rushing a shot wastefully wide.
There was a third chance for the Zimbabwean moments before the break, although this time a splendid and acrobatic one-handed save from Petersen ensured that Rusike’s header from Fortune Makaringe’s cross was pushed wide.
Kabwe had a chance before the interval for Ajax, but miscued wide as the visitors trailed at the break.
The Urban Warriors did come out stronger after the restart, and the Team of Choice had Bongani Mpandle to thank after an error from the defence allowed Thabo Mosadi a shot on goal that drew an excellent save from the goalkeeper.
But poor defending at the other end then allowed for United to go 2-0 up.
Rusike was quickest to react to some indecisiveness in the defence, before beating his man 30 yards out, closing in on goal and lifting the ball past the on-rushing Petersen.
Makaringe drew another good diving stop from Petersen as the home side went on to a comfortable win.
African News Agency (ANA)