Result means that the Ajax-Black Leopards clash at the Rand Stadium on Friday will shape up as a “final”
AJAX Cape Town clawed their way back from a goal down to hammer Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila (TTM) 5-1 in the PSL promotion/relegation play-off clash at the Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg, on Tuesday.
Ajax’s second-half goal blitz in this GladAfrica derby blew TTM away and took them to the top of the mini-log, because of a superior goal difference. Second-placed Black Leopards, also on six points with Ajax, have played one match less.
The 5-1 result means that the Ajax-Black Leopards clash at the Rand Stadium on Friday will shape up as a final. If Leopards win, they will retain their Premiership status. If they lose, the outcome of the last play-off fixture between Leopards and TTM next Monday at Soccer City will decide the eventual outcome of the play-offs.
If Ajax win on Friday, the outcome of the play-offs could be decided on goal difference by the time the last match is played next Monday.
Straight from the kick-off, Ajax went out in search of a goal, and they might have succeeded in the opening six minutes but for poor decision making in front of the opposition’s goal.
Since TTM were forced to settle for a defensive role, they relied on counter-attacks to keep their challenge alive. On their only second sortie into the Ajax, they managed a 12th-minute score through Thembisani Nevhulamba, very much against the run of play (1-0).
Ajax responded with a wave of attacks but again their finishing let them down. There was also a decided lack of cohesion among the frontrunners.
Ajax striker Eleazar Rodgers came close with a 23rd header which TTM goalkeeper Tshepo Ramaele did well to deflect for a corner.
Another lightning TTM counter-attack nearly resulted in a goal, but a reflex save by Ajax’s Dutch keeper Nick Hengelman denied the speedy Naeem Amoojee, three minutes ahead of the half-time break.
Ajax made a phenomenal start to the second half by forcing a corner in the opening minute and scored from the set-piece. Siphesihle Mkhize was the scorer (1-1).
Three minutes later Ajax grabbed the lead for the first time in the match after Cohen Stander struck a low goalmouth cross which Rodgers steered into the TTM goals (2-1).
The same two players Stander and Rodgers again combined splendidly four minutes later. After playing identical roles, Rodgers scored to give Ajax a two-goal cushion (3-1).
The three-goal burst seemed to provide Ajax’s game with an immeasurable lift and their dominance in the ensuing stages suggested another goal was imminent. On the hour mark, Chumani Butsaka scored goal No 4 (4-1).
The scoreboard kept moving four minutes later when Rodgers buried the ball in the back of the TTM net from the penalty spot (5-1).
TTM will remain in the PSL First Division after suffering a third straight defeat.
Ironically, TTM’s fate has been decided, but with one match remaining they still have a say in the destiny of Ajax and Leopards before the curtain drops on the play-offs.