Ajax hunt for top-eight finish after early wobble

Ajax Cape Town’s Grant Margeman, left, and Sphamandla Mlilo of Platinum Stars in action during their Absa Premiership match at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday. Ajax won the game 2-0.
Picture: Gallo Images

Ajax Cape Town can now start to think about winning a place in the top eight this season‚ which would be a remarkable end to a dismal campaign in which they flirted with relegation.

This is the view of coach Stanley Menzo‚ who was delighted with the dominant display of his side in the 2-0 home win over Platinum Stars on Sunday.

Goals from the excellent Grant Margeman and Ndiviwe Mdabuka sealed a comfortable win and leaves Ajax on 29 points from their 26 matches‚ just three points behind Maritzburg United in seventh‚ though the latter have a game in hand.

Ajax will be hoping that their local rivals Cape Town City do them a favour and beat Maritzburg this afternoon to leave their bid for a top seven place well and truly on.

“We can look a little bit up now rather than down‚” Menzo said‚ though he said he was cautious about being over-confident.

“The moment you speak too much‚ you get a lot of opposition. Sometimes you have to be smart and wait.

“But we can look up now, and if we can win our next three games, it will be great. We still have to play them‚ but it’s a better situation than three or four weeks ago. Nobody knows how we will finish the season‚ but for me‚ I am looking up.”

Ajax are away at struggling Chippa United on Saturday‚ and have home matches against relegation-threatened Bloemfontein Celtic and Baroka FC.

Their other match is an away trip to Orlando Pirates on May 17.

Menzo was happy with the shape and tempo his side displayed against Stars‚ something that has at times been missing from their performances.

“We knew it would be a difficult game with pressure; we controlled the game and scored a very good goal in the first half. We created chances and our defence did very well‚ we didn’t give anything away.

“[In the] second half they came at us‚ but we kept controlling. I’m very happy with the performance of the team.

“I like playing with a higher rhythm and you could see the moment we did that‚ we created more chances. We just need to work on that final pass.

“But it all starts with a good build-up‚ good ball possession‚ a good rhythm and good ball speed‚ which we had.”

Ajax did not win any of their opening nine league matches of the season and were bottom of the league when Menzo took over from Roger de Sa in October.

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