Pirates up to eighth after 2-1 win over Ajax

2014-01-27 21:57

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Goals from Khethowakhe Masuku and Thabo Matlaba in either half handed Orlando Pirates a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Ajax Cape Town in their Premiership clash at the Orlando Stadium.

Pirates moved into the top half of the league for the first time this season courtesy of the two strikes, which were enough to see out the win despite Granwald Scott's late goal, which reduced the damage to one.

Ajax headed into the clash without their former coach Mushin Ertugral, who quit the Urban Warriors last week, citing personal reasons. The Turk's former assistant Ian Taylor has taken over in a caretaker role.

A tentative opening 10 minutes saw little in the way of chances, with Lehlogonolo Masalesa's sixth minute long-range effort the best of the early action.

The teams would have to wait until the 32nd minute for the next opportunity, as new Pirates' signing Helder Pelembe tried his luck from distance, forcing Ajax goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola into a straightforward stop to deny the Mozambican.

Shortly after the hosts were rewarded for dominating the possession, Masuku floated a cross goalwards, which drifted beyond Jaakkola and found the top corner, ensuring his first Premiership goal for the Buccaneers.

Ajax had a flurry of chances after the interval, but Pirates did well to soak up the pressure and keep the Cape side at bay, as their defensive line cleaned up any loose balls at the back.

Just when Ajax looked like getting back into the tie, Matlaba's superb finish doubled the home side's advantage and put further daylight between themselves and their coastal opponents.

Aubrey Ngoma found Matlaba in the area after a good run down the left flank, before the goal-scorer took a touch and curled his right-footed effort past a despairing Jaakkola, who could do little as the ball nicked the woodwork on the way in.

Ajax managed to pull one back 20 minutes from the end, after some good work from striker Eleazar Rodgers which allowed Scott to volley home unmarked, as the Urban Warriors looked to launch a comeback.

Jaakkola produced a fine save four minutes later, after Pelembe connected an accurate delivery into the area and headed powerfully at goal, only to be thwarted by Jaakkola's parried stop, tipping the ball over the crossbar and out for a corner.

The win was Pirates' first of the year, having failed to win in their last two outings, while Ajax head home looking to find a permanent replacement for Ertugral before their next league assignment.

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