Modiba solitary goal earns SuperSport United victory over Ajax Cape Town
Aubrey Modiba scored his fifth goal of the season as SuperSport United claimed a 1-0 victory over struggling Ajax Cape Town in their Absa Premiership clash at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday.
Modiba’s header settled the contest, but Ajax showed plenty of fight in the second half and might have earned something from the game with a bit more luck.
SuperSport are now six points behind leaders Baroka FC, but still have six games in hand on the Limpopo club.
Perhaps more importantly, they are three points behind Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns having played three games less.
SuperSport made six changes from the side that started the second leg of the African Confederation Cup final against TP Mazembe on Saturday, with Nigerian centre-back Azubuike Egwuekwe handed a debut some three months after he was signed.
Also included from the start was goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse, defenders Morgan Gould, Grant Kekana and Richard Boateng, and forward Fagrie Lakay.
SuperSport hit the front on 25 minutes when Modiba glanced his header past Jody February from Ghana fullback Richard Boateng’s inviting cross.
It was a similar goal to the one Ajax conceded to Mabhuti Khenyeza in the final seconds of their 2-2 draw against AmaZulu on Saturday as the defence stood static and left an unmarked Modiba to head home.
Lakay tried his luck from 40-yards but February was able to palm the ball away to safety, while the keeper also reacted smartly to push away a low effort from Bradley Grobler.
Ajax were completely ineffective in the opening half, so much so that coach Stanley Menzo hauled off youngster Masilake Phohlongo five minutes before the break, replacing him with last season’s National First Division top-scorer Sedwyn George.
The Ajax technical team stayed in their dugout for a number of minutes at the end of the first period as the players trudged to the dressingroom, perhaps thinking about what to say to the players.
The visitors were improved in the early stages of the second half as Bantu Mzwakali and Mosa Lebusa just failed to connect with Grant Margeman’s inviting cross, before Pieterse made a fine save from Tashreeq Morris’ header, though the latter was flagged for offside.
Urban Warriors skipper Lebusa then embarked on a rampaging run that saw a brave Pieterse just manage to save at his feet.
Morris then forced a fine stop from the SuperSport goalkeeper with a thunderous drive from 25-yards as the visitors continued to press.
The frustrations at Ajax boiled over when coach Stanley Menzo substituted Rheece Evans, and then had strong words with his player as they passed each other on the touchline. Evans responded with words himself.
There was controversy minutes later when a ‘drop-ball’ took place after a stoppage to allow SuperSport to regain possession.
None of the home players made a move towards it though and George put the loose ball into the back of the net.
Whether the striker was acting within the spirit of the game is questionable, but the Ajax players were incensed, though as the ball did not touch two players after the restart, the 'goal' could not stand.