Free State Stars heaped further pressure on Ajax Cape Town head coach Stanley Menzo with a 2-0 victory in their Premiership clash at Goble Park on Wednesday.
Stars grabbed their third consecutive league win with forwards Edward Manqele and Mohamed Anas scoring goals in each half to secure the three points.
Coming into the fixture in Bethlehem, Ajax were desperate for three points coming to a venue that’s brought them no joy in the past. The men from the Free State now stretch their unbeaten run to a staggering 15 games against the visitors.
And history has a way of repeating itself as Menzo’s side struggled to adapt to the pace of the hosts’ attack, while luck eluded them on their forays in the opposition half.
Ea Lla Koto had more possession in the opening 20 minutes and showed real intent playing the ball in Ajax’s half, but Thabo Mosadi, Tashreeq Morris and teenage midfielder Grant Margerman all had half-chances to break the deadlock.
On the half-hour mark, captain Mosa Lebusa found himself in acres of space as Mosadi picked him out with another delightful delivery, but the left-back failed to find the target with a poor header.
Goalkeeper Bandre Sangare was kept on his toes by Nigerian winger Ejike Uzoenyi with a few snapshots before the hosts took the lead against the run of play just before the break as Manqele scored his first league goal in over two years with a composed finish beyond Brandon Petersen.
And five minutes into the second half, Anas doubled their lead to hand Luc Eymael’s side some breathing space.
The Belgian’s influence over Stars was evident within the rest of the encounter as they remained defensively resilient under the pressure of the Urban Warriors’ willingness to play direct football in a bid to find a way back into the encounter.