Ajax Cape Town came from behind to get their playoff campaign off to a winning start with a 3-2 victory over Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila (TTM) on Sunday 6 September.
TTM made three changes to the starting XI from their final match of the NFD season with Tlou Masegela, Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo and Wonderboy Makhubu starting for the Limpopo club who will enjoy PSL football next season regardless of the outcome of the playoff.
Ajax Cape Town fight back
Rooi Mahamutsa, Junior Sibande and Chumani Butsaka came into the Ajax Cape Town team from the start.
Ajax failed to convert the best chance of the first half just 13 minutes in. Eleazar Rodgers flicked a long ball from a throw-in to the back-post for Abednego Mosiatlhage, but the winger nodded off target from close-range.
TTM didn’t provide much of a goal threat in the early going with Makhubu’s missed attempt from a tight angle coming just after the half hour mark.
The Limpopo club made wholesale changes at half time bringing on Nkululeko Mhlongo, Tommy Mandlazi and Naeem Amoojee to try and break the deadlock.
It was Ajax who would take the lead early in the second period though when Rodgers headed home Thendo Mukumela’s excellent cross.
That lead was to be shortlived though as Thembisani Nevhulamba found free in the Ajax area and directed Mandlazi’s pin-point cross into an empty net to make it 1-1.
TTM then seized the initiative just after the hour mark when Tebogo Thangwane got up ahead of Thabo Mosadi to send Mandlazi’s in-swinging corner into the far side of the net.
That goal prompted Urban Warriors to make a change moments before the second cooling break with Sonwabile Mfecane coming on for Butsaka.
The change made the difference when in the 79th minute of the contest, Mfecane cut into the near side of the area from the right and picked out the bottom corner with a snap finish.
Ajax restore their lead six minutes from time. Substitute Kegan Johannes drilled his shot through the legs of TTM goalkeeper Simon Mamudzidi from point-blank range to give his team the edge.
TTM threatened to strike back, but Nick Hengelman did brilliantly to tip Samuel Mashele’s floating ball to safety before Cohen Stander cleared off the line earlier on to help the Ajax Cape Town hold on.
Ajax Cape Town squad
Starting XI: Hengelman; Stander, Mahamutsa, Sibande, Mukumela, Mkhize, Kabwe, Margeman, Butsaka, Mosiatlhaga, Rodgers.
Subs: Johnson, Mosadi, Mokate, S.Mfecane, Johannes, Abrahams, K.Mfecane, Koopstadt, Velebayi.
Starting XI: Mamudzidi, Mashele, Nyadombo, Thangwane, Mabotja, Ndlondlo, Masgela, Mokoena, Mbandlwa, Makhubu, Venhulamba.
Subs: Ntwa, Amoojee, Makgoga, Khumalo, Ndebele, Mandlazi, Dzanga, Hlongo, Moremedi