Ten-man Ajax book MTN8 final spot

Ajax Cape Town booked their place in the MTN8 final with a 1-0 win over Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon.

With the game deadlocked at 1-1 after the first-leg, Ajax had it all to do in the return fixture, but their task was made easier after Siyabonga Nhlapo saw red in the early exchanges of the encounter.

Nathan Paulse converted the penalty and the forward should have wrapped up the game in the second-half, missing a catalogue of chances before Cecil Lolo saw his spot-kick saved by Moeneeb Josephs.

In the end it didn't matter as the Urban Warriors denied Wits the opportunity to end their 20 year wait to reach the top eight final once again.

Both teams suffered injury blows leading up to the clash with Buhle Mkhwanazi taking over the captains armband from the injured Thulani Hlatshwayo while the free scoring Prince Nxumalo was omitted from the Ajax squad after he was hospitalized on Sunday morning after suffering a reported epileptic attack.

The hosts got off to the brighter start with Onismor Bhasera guiding his chance from close range over Anssi Jaakkola's crossbar within three minutes. The bounce of the ball unsettled the fullback who should've hit the target, lucky for him the assistants flag was raised for offside.

Daine Klate and Elias Pelembe have enjoyed a good start to their Bidvest Wits career and the duo linked up well on 16 minutes with the former Orlando Pirates man picking out his fellow winger at the far post - the Mozambique international guiding his first time shot straight at the Ajax stopper.

It would be Ajax though to open the scoring against the run of play following a foul on Toriq Losper inside the area - Siyabonga Nhlapo subsequently sent for an early shower after he bundled down the former Clever Boy who was clear in at goal.

Paulse duly stepped up to open the scoring in the 25th minute.

Despite their man disadvantage the hosts had their chances with Joaquim Lupeta missing a golden chance to immediately make a name for himself a the club in the 37th minute.

Moments after replacing the injured Henrico Botes, the ball fell favourble inside the area for Lupeta, but the burly striker scuffed his shot from close range.

Klate would then see his rasping free-kick from an acute angle superbly kept out by Jaakkola on the cusp of halftime as the Urban Warriors headed into the tunnel at the break in the ascendancy.

Bidvest Wits continued to dominate proceedings after the interval with Ajax content in hitting their outnumbered hosts on the counter.

Ajax though had their chances to put the game to bed with Ruzaigh Gamildien's cross-cum-shot almost getting the better of Josephs - in the end the veteran gloves man made a great save to deny the Ajax midfielder in the 67th minute.

Paulse had a string of opportunities to complete his brace with the best of those chances coming in the 78th minute. The lanky forward outsmarted Josephs, but failed to his the target with the goal at his mercy.

Ajax then had a chance to wrap things up from 12 yards after the hard working Losper was brought down by Ben Motshwari with four minutes remaining, but Lolo's penalty was saved by Josephs who single-handedly kept the Clever Boys in the game.

In the end Ajax held on to book their place in the final for the first time since 2009.

Bidvest Wits (0) 0

Ajax Cape Town (1) 0 (Paulse 25')

Bidvest Wits: Josephs; Bhasera, Mkhwanazi, Ntshangase, Nhlapo, Motshwari, Faty, Vilakazi, Pelembe (Mahlambi 63'), Klate (Bright 66'), Botes (Lupeta 36')

Ajax Cape Town: Jaakkola; Lolo, Mobara, Coetzee, Lebusa, Mdabuka, Mzwakali (Gamildien 65'),Graham, Norodien (Cale 74'), Losper, Paulse