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  • 02 April 2013
  • • 19:30
  • • Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium, Pretoria, GT
  • Referee: Z. Mthetho
  • • Attendance: 4000

Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 Ajax Cape Town: Brazilians surge to sixth PSL win

Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 Ajax Cape Town: Brazilians surge to sixth PSL win

Two first half goals from Eleazar Rodgers and Edward Manqele, followed by a late penalty strike from Hlompho Kekana secured a vital win for Pitso Mosimane's side

Mamelodi Sundowns out-gunned Ajax Cape Town 3-1 during a crucial PSL encounter at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria.

Sundowns netted twice in the first half through a header from Eleazar Rodgers and an expert finish by Edward Manqele, which put the Brazilians in control of proceedings.

But the Urban Warriors did not surrender and Mabhudi Khenyeza scored late in the opening period to give the relegation-threatened side a glimmer of hope. However, Sundowns held on to their slim one goal lead and added a third via a late Hlompho Kekana penalty strike.

Both sides needed a victory as Sundowns looked to break into the top half of the table, while the Urban Warriors were desperate to attain maximum points to aid their PSL survival bid.

Ajax Cape Town concentrated on holding onto possession during the first ten minutes of the encounter, with Mabhuti Khenyeza and Khama Billiat having early strikes on goal.

Khenyeza almost opened the scoring 13 minutes in as he found himself in space just inside the area, but his low shot was expertly blocked by the legs of Sibusiso Khumalo.

But it was Sundowns who found the opening goal against the run of play, as Wayne Arendse and Eleazar Rodgers combined to punish a poorly defended corner by the Urban Warriors.

Arendse set up Rodgers with a dominant header from a well-orchestrated corner kick by the Brazilians, which meant the unmarked goal-scorer merely had to place the ball into the back of the net past Sander Westerveld.    

Sundowns continued to haunt Ajax’s defence with Rodgers coming close to scoring his second after bursting into the box and trying to beat Westerveld at the near post, but the keeper was able to cover the shot with a reaction save.

However, Edward Manqele made no mistake on the 27 minute mark by providing Sundowns with a vital second goal.

Teko Modise unleashed the striker with a deft pass which spilt Ajax’s defense in half, giving Manqele enough space to fire home into the left corner past a sprawling Westerveld.

Just when it seemed as if Sundowns was in control Mabhudi Khenyeza stepped up to put Ajax on the board in the 37th minute.

A poor pass from Jabulani Shongwe allowed for Thato Mokeke to whip in a dangerous cross into Sundowns’ box, which Khenyeza slotted home at the near post with an expert finish.

Rodgers should have regained Sundown’s two goal lead in the dying embers of the first half, but the striker could not direct a free header on target.

The action-packed first half ended 2-1 with the result hanging finely in the balance, due to Ajax’s resurgence at the end of the first stanza.

Ajax pushed forward in the beginning of the second half but to no avail, as the game remained in Sundown’s favour.

With half an hour to go the match opened up as Ajax began to search with desperation for the equaliser, meaning Sundowns could exploit the ever-increasing space behind Ajax’s defenders.

Khenyeza broke down the right flank in the 75th minute and almost set-up Lebogang Manyama with a deft low cross, but Wayne Arendse kept the ball out of the onrushing attacker’s path with another piece of assured defending.

Nyasha Mushekwi almost restored Sundowns two-goal cushion with a well-directed header from a corner kick, but Sander Westerveld was on hand with an age-defying acrobatic save to deny the substitute.

Hlompho Kekana netted a penalty in stoppage time to give Sundowns breathing room and notch up their sixth win of the season, leaving Ajax rooted to 15th spot on the PSL log. Ajax will need to do without Mabhudi Khenyeza for the next match as he was sent off for an unecessary challenge in the final minute of the game.