Buc­ca­neer mus­cle puts paid to Ajax Cape Town

Sunday Times - - Sport - By MARC STRYDOM

● In­jury-hit Or­lando Pi­rates mus­cled Ajax Cape Town out of the game at Or­lando Sta­dium for last night’s 2-0 Ned­bank Cup last-32 vic­tory.

Bernard Mor­ri­son got a rare start and re­warded Bucs with a per­for­mance capped by 43rd and 48th-minute strikes. The Ghana­ian, signed with high ex­pec­ta­tion a sea­son-and-a-half ago, took ad­van­tage of in­juries to per­haps earn more recog­ni­tion go­ing for­ward.

On a muggy evening and sur­face made soggy by a pre-match storm, Pi­rates, forced into six changes, started slowly but gained con­fi­dence to ex­act re­venge for a 3-0 shock in Cape Town 10 days ago.

A few play­ers — no­tably Issa Sarr and Them­binkosi Lorch — stepped up for Bucs.

Musa Ny­atama’s sus­pen­sion and Ab­bubaker Mo­bara’s in­jury were known in the week. Of some doubt­ful starters — Thabiso Ku­tumela, Mpho Makola and Lu­vuyo Memela — only the last of those made it, and then only onto the bench.

Goal­keeper Jack­son Mabokg­wane pulled up with a groin in­jury, and Siyabonga Mpontshane started.

Ajax coach Muhsin Er­tu­gral has had his share of ab­sen­tees too — no­tably Mosa Le­busa and Yan­nick Zakri — and made three changes from his team’s 1-1 league away draw against Polok­wane City on Sun­day. One was Siboniso Gaxa mak­ing a de­but at right-back.

Coach Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vic kept the 3-43 for­ma­tion that had won 2-1 against Mar­itzburg United here.

But the en­forced changes — Di­a­mond Thopola and Phetso Maphanga came in im­pres­sively at wing­back, and Sarr resur­faced in cen­tral mid­field — dis­rupted a rhythm his side had been nur­tur­ing.

And Pi­rates were up against an Ajax who, un­like in Cape Town, had come to sit deep and soak, and catch Bucs on the counter.

So it was not sur­pris­ing that Pi­rates en­joyed pos­ses­sion in the first half but strug­gled to break through.

Early on Jody Fe­bru­ary had to save at the feet of Mor­ri­son from a Sarr pass.

Tendai Ndoro, the fig­ure of protests (one by Pi­rates) and board­room de­ci­sions and ap­peals on el­i­gi­bil­ity, was Ajax’s dan­ger man when they went for­ward. He hit a vol­ley from the edge of the box, from Fa­grie Lakay’s chip, hard but high.

Bucs broke through be­fore half time with a slick goal. Them­binkosi Lorch’s side­foot put Justin Shonga through on the left to square sharply. Mor­ri­son’s fin­ish was clean and crisp.

The re­struc­tured Bucs had found their stride and Lorch and Mor­ri­son com­bined for the sec­ond just back from the restart.

Lorch laid on an­other killer pass, and Mor­ri­son beau­ti­fully held off Mario Booy­sen and pro­duced a burst of pace, then struck cleanly again past Fe­bru­ary.

But it was Pi­rates’ young sub­sti­tute Lyle Fos­ter, then Lorch, who came clos­est to adding to the score.

First-half goals by winger Kobamelo Kodisang and striker Eleazar Rodgers saw Bid­vest Wits take a 2-0 lead over Mau­ri­tian out­fit Pam­ple­mousses to the sec­ond leg of the CAF Cham­pi­ons League pre­lim­i­nary round.

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