Coming from a 1-0 win over Bidvest Wits, the Urban Warriors were brimming with confidence as they were chasing the maximum points at home.
With tough upcoming clashes against Kaizer Chiefs at home and Mamelodi Sundowns away in Tshwane, coach Muhsin Ertugral’s men had no room for error, but to collect the points by hook or crook.
On the other hand, Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele headed into the encounter desperately looking for a win as they wanted to seal their spot in the top eight.
A bright start by the home side and the first chance came in after 10 minutes when Yannick Zakri’s header was punched away for a corner by Ayanda Dlamini.
The visitors were alert towards the 20th minute as they intercepted Ajax’s moves, but a shot through Mpho Kgaswane lacked venom, allowing Jody February to collect with ease.
Baroka had an upper hand in terms of attacks after the half-hour mark and Kgaswane saw his set piece sail over the crossbar with the hosts’ defence failing to deal with three successive corner kicks.
There was less action in front of goal as both teams went into the half-time break deadlocked.
From their return for the second half, Muhsin Ertugral pulled Tercious Malepe off for Toriq Losper, yet there was no immediate impact to trouble Dlamini, who was turned into a spectator.
However, Zakri set up substitute Samuel Julies in the 65th minute as he forced a superb save from Dlamini, who was alert to fist the ball over the roof of the net.
The Mother City side became a bit shaky at the back, but Mduduzi Mdantsane failed to lower his well struck volley in the box and it sailed wide with 15 minutes to go.
In the last nine minutes, Sergio Kammies, who came on for Morne Nel, wasted a glorious opportunity when he found himself in the penalty area, but his low shot went wide.
Following a number of attempts, Ajax finally broke the deadlock through Lebusa in the 91st minute when the skipper converted with a header after a poor clearance by Dlamini.
The victory elevates the hosts to 14th on the log with 31 points and have two games remaining, while Baroka slip down to the 10 on the standings.
Meanwhile, Bloemfontein Celtic failed to capitalise on their home ground advantage as they drew 0-0 with Chippa United at the Dr Molemela Stadium.
Siwelele now remain in position eight with 35 points and will have to bag two wins out of their remaining matches to seal a spot in the top eight.
On the other hand, the Chilli Boys were pleased with a point away from home and remain seventh with 35 points and have two matches remaining to wrap up their league campaign.
Veselin Jelusic’s men are away in their upcoming encounter as they visit Baroka while the Port Elizabeth-side host SuperSport United on Saturday.