Kaizer Chiefs defied a lacklustre first half with a dominant 3-0 win over Ajax Cape Town at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night.
Bernard Parker opened the scoring with a powerful strike which took a decisive deflection and found the back of the net in the 36th minute. Siboniso Gaxa scored the vital second goal after beating Sander Westerveld at his near post in the 65th minute, followed by a stunner from Simphiwe Tshabalala in the 75th minute, which secured the 3-0 win for Chiefs.
Chiefs began the game with a slim advantage over Orlando Pirates and had to focus on attaining a positive result against the Urban Warriors, in order to keep the pressure on their rivals who face Chippa United on Wednesday night.
Watched by a sparse crowd in a rainy Polokwane, the match had an electric start as Chiefs burst forward and almost punished Ajax for some sloppy defending as Reneilwe Letsholonyane collected the ball in space and fired towards goal. Sander Westerveld was on hand for the Urban Warriors as he sprang to his left with an impressive acrobatic save.
Ajax showed initiative in the opening ten minutes as they endeavoured to attack their illustrious opponents and play to their strengths, utilising creative players such as Wanderson and Khama Billiat.
A breath-taking first fifteen minutes was followed by a dour period, as both sides struggled to hold onto possession.
Chiefs found it difficult to develop their passing game as the half continued, which has been the trademark of their season so far.
Their indecisiveness certainly affected the flow of the game and Ajax almost found the opener when Khama Billiat provided his side’s first shot on goal following a mazy run which ripped open Chiefs defensive line.
Following this brief period of Ajax pressure, Bernard Parker defied an unimpressive first half performance with a stunning effort from 25 yards out in the 36th minute.
The league’s top scorer controlled a long ball with ease and blasted a left footed drive towards goal, which took a significant deflection off Booth’s large frame, sending the ball looping over a desperate Westerveld.
Chiefs initial lack of confidence seemed like the distant past after the goal, as they began to regain the free-flowing football which has seen them rout many opponents this season.
Ajax keeper Westerveld was lucky to escape a sending off, as he elbowed and pushed Parker to the ground during a Chief’s corner kick. The first half ended with Parker’s sublime strike being the difference between the sides.
Neither side could make an immediate impact during the opening stages of the second half, even though Chiefs continued their improved style of play.
Kingston Nkhatha thought he had found the second goal for the AmaKhosi in the 57th minute, as he latched onto a ball in the box and finished smartly but he was flagged for offside much to his disappointment.
Chiefs displayed moments of profligacy, with many of their attacking moves focusing on style over substance. Their slim lead did not warrant such over confidence and Stuart Baxter decided to bring on Lehlonolo Majoro in order to find the vital second goal.
However seconds before the substitution was made, Gaxa was released by a slick through ball from Joseph Dladla and beat Westerveld at his near post with a low strike in the 65th minute.
Chiefs were on the front foot and more goals seemed inevitable as their movement and pace dismantled Ajax’s defensive efforts. Bernard Parker curled an immaculate effort onto the crossbar, followed by an absolute stunner from Tshabalala, who slammed in an accurate drive into the top right corner, cementing Chief’s place at the top of the PSL log and condemning Ajax to yet another disappointing loss.