Ajax take honours in Cape derby

Ajax Cape Town kept the pressure on Kaizer Chiefs and moved up into second position after they scored a late winner against Santos in the Cape derby at a rainy Newlands Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The first chance of the game came as early as the first minute when some sloppy defensive work by Santos saw the ball falling to Joseph Ngake, who was unable to curl the ball into the far post from just 12 yards out.

A minute later Ngake turned provider as he slotted the ball through a non-existent Santos defence to Nathan Paulse, but the gangly striker was not able to get his shot away quickly enough and keeper Brendan Wardle was able to come off his line to stop him from shooting.

In the 19th minute Kamaal Sait came desperately close to conceding a penalty when he was forced to cut short an Ajax breakaway by fouling a flying Brent Carelse just inches outside of the penalty box.

As the game went on the team in red and white showed their dominance, especially in midfield where Sebastian Bax and Musa Otieno were missing for the visitors.

The only chance of the opening 45 minutes which the People's Team enjoyed arrived in the 25th minute when Jean Marc Ithier controlled the ball inside the box before volleying high over Moeneeb Josephs' cross-bar.

In the 29th minute Wilfred Mugeyi was put into space on the right hand side of the box, but did not place his low shot accurately enough to trouble Wardle.

Although Ajax continued to enjoy the majority of possession they were not able create any clear-cut chances in the remainder of the first half and the teams went into the break locked at 0-0.

The first goalscoring opportunity in the second half fell to Paulse, whose powerful header from a corner flashed just wide of Wardle's left-hand upright in the 53rd minute.

A minute later Fees Moloi almost sneaked in at the near post to tuck away an Ithier header, but his shot was directed too closely to Josephs.

In the 66th minute some neat interplay between substitute Mulekayi Kanku and Grant Igesund nearly created a chance for the home team, but Wardle was out in time to stop the danger.

In the 77th minute Marawaan Bantam did well to bring down the ball on his chest and turn towards goal, but he was also guilty of sending his finishing touch well wide of the target.

The game seemed to be heading for a draw, but Gordon Igesund's men continued to fight and were finally rewarded in the 80th minute with the all-important goal.

The goal came about after Brent Carelse crossed to the far post where Graham King was on hand to turn the ball back across the goal to Paulse, who in turn flicked the ball goalwards for Mulekalayi Kanku to header home from close range.

Bantam had a late chance to level matters with a free kick from a good position, but his effort was blocked by the Urban Warriors wall.

Coach Igesund was delighted at the outcome, which sees the Cape team staying hot on the heels of Kaizer Chiefs, who beat Manning Rangers 2-0 to go top of the log - one point above Ajax.

"Yes, I'm very happy with the result, as local derbies are always tough. This result sees us keeping the pressure on Chiefs.

"Santos came to defend as they played with 10 men behind the ball. I told by players just to keep on playing and the goal would come, and that is exactly what happened," said a relieved looking Igesund after the match.

More about Ajax Cape Town on the web site of the club.