Ajax reach Nedbank Cup quarters

Ajax Cape Town edged Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 at Athlone Stadium on Friday night to move into the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals.

In a tightly-contested match, Tashreeq Morris’ early strike proved to be the difference between the teams, with Phunya Sele Sele unlucky to twice hit the frame of the Urban Warriors’ goal.

Ajax opened the scoring as early as the ninth minute. A floated cross from the right flank by Bantu Mzwakali picked out Franklin Cale in the box, who in turn played a cushioned ball across the face of goal that was turned home at close range by Tashreeq Morris.

Celtic responded well to going behind and put together several threatening moves in the minutes after Ajax’s goal, before the game clicked into a higher gear that saw the teams trading attacks in some end-to-end action.

The Bloemfontein side almost claimed an equaliser in the 34th minute, with Musa Nyatama directing his header on the woodwork, and 10 minutes into the second half they again had the beating of Ajax goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola through a curling shot from Dumisani Zuma, but the ball ricocheted off the outside of the post.

Ajax substitute Thabiso Nkoana almost killed the game off in the 84th minute when he sprinted in behind the visiting defence before firing a shot toward the top corner, but goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb pulled off an excellent save to keep his side’s hopes alive.

The Celtic gloves-man’s efforts were in vain, however, with the match ending 1-0 in favour of the Urban Warriors, who join Bidvest Wits in the last eight. The final six berths will be determined in cup ties over the remainder of the weekend.

Ajax Cape Town (1) 1 (Morris 9’)

Bloemfontein Celtic 0

Ajax: Jaakkola, Lolo, Mobara, Coetzee, Lebusa, Mzwakali (Isaacs 87’), Losper (Scott 60’), Graham, Cale, Isaacs, Morris (Nkoana 69’)

Celtic: Tignyemb, Mzava, Fransman, Bilankulu, Ritchie, Ndengane, Nyatama, Morena, Mulenga (Maasdorp 82’), Lamola, Zuma (Mhango 73’)