Match Report: Ajax Cape Town 1-0 Bidvest Wits
Ajax Cape Town scored early on the match to beat 10-man Bidvest Wits 1-0 in the Absa Premiership encounter at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
Carl Lark’s 5th minute strike was enough to give get the Urban Warriors back on track after losing their last two matches on the trot, and they now move to ninth place on the log with 22 points after 17 matches.
Bidvest Wits, who were reduced to 10-man after their defender Kofi Dankwae was sent off just before half-time, lose for the second time running away from home and they will remain 5th on the standing with 25 points after 15 matches.
Ajax Cape Town interim coach started with loanee midfielder Thamasanqa Sangweni in the middle of the park and Toriq Losper was dropped to the bench. Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt made two changes to the side that lost to Orlando Pirates bringing in Robin Ngalande and Kofi Dankwae in the places of Erwin Isaacs and Calvin Kadi.
The home side didn’t waste time to threaten, and they almost opened the scoring barely a minute into the match when a defensive blunder by Bidvest Wits allowed Carl Lark to break free on goal down on the left, but the new midfielder at the club shot wide from tight angle.
But it didn’t take long for him to make up his earlier miss when he opened the scoring in the 5th minute. A low cross by Nathan Paulse was poor cleared by Matthew Booth and Carl Lark pounced on the loose ball to shot in the empty net and give the host an early lead, 1-0.
Five minutes later the visitors almost equalised when Matthew Pattison unleashed a left-footed shot from range but Anssi Jaakkola parried the ball to safety. The Clever Boys had another chance to level matters when Matthew Booth got to the end of Matthew Pattison’ corner-kick at the back post but his downward header bounced and went over the bar.
The home side looked to have took off the foot off the pedal, as Bidvest Wits searched for the leveller, and they came close to finding it when Thulani Hlatshwayo’ clearance deflected off the leg of Onismor Bhasera and the looping ball almost caught Annsi Jaakolla off guard, but the Finnish ‘keeper was able tip the ball with one-hand before Sthembiso Ngcobo failed to capitalise from the rebound with ten minutes left before the break.
Things went from bad to worse for Bidvest Wits when their Niger left-back Kofi Dankwae was sent off in the stroke of half-time when his reckless challenge on Abbubaker Mobara gave the referee Robert Smith no choice but the flash a red card.
The beginning of second-half saw the visitors making a change bringing on Asive Langwe in the place of Matthew Pattison and try to balance things before Omnismo Bhasera saw his low left-footed long range shot turned around the post by Anssi Jaakkola in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, the Urban Warriors had a chance to score the second and put the results beyond doubt when they caught Bidvest Wits on the counter, but winger Keagan Dolly, who was clear on goal after a fine pass by Nathan Paulse, shot whisker over the bar with only Moeneeb Josephs to beat.
The winger tried to make up his earlier miss with a left footed shot in the 66th minute but his effort could not find the target, before substitute Toriq Losper saw his shot from outside the area go high and wide with fifteen minutes to play.
Three minutes later, Bidvest Wits won a free-kick in the promising area, but Asive Langwe’ 30-yards shot sailed over the bar. In the 84th minute, the home side had another chance to kill the tie when a counter-attack saw Toriq Losper play Eleazar Rodgers through on goal but Moeneeb Josephs made a great diving save to deny the Mamelodi Sundowns loanee striker.
With two minutes left to play excluding optional time, the Clever Boys almost scored and snatched a point when Benjani Mwariwari’ header was cleared off the line by Domenic Isaacs, before Papy Faty blasted the ball over the bar from the edge of the area in the second minute of stoppage time as the outnumbered side looked to snatch a draw away from home.
Ajax Cape Town: Jaakkola, Allie, Isaacs, Hlatshwayo, Jenniker, Lark (Losper 73’), Sangweni, Mobara, Dolly (Krjauklis 87’), Morris, Paulse (Rodgers 64’).
Bidvest Wits: Josephs, Nhlapo, Booth, Mngonyama, Dankwae, Vilakazi, Pattison (Langwe 45’), Bhasera, Ngalande ( Kadi 62’), Ngcobo ( Benjani 79’). Faty.