Phala strike wins it for SuperSport

An early goal from Thuso Phala secured a narrow 1-0 win for SuperSport United over Ajax Cape Town in an Absa Premiership clash at Athlone Stadium on Saturday evening.

The visitors ended the game with 10 men, Kingston Nkhatha sent off for the second time this season following two bookable offences within the space of two second-half minutes.

For SuperSport the victory propels them up to ninth place on the log standings, a fifth game without a win for Ajax sees them slip to 12th.

SuperSport got off to the perfect start through former captain Phala who grabbed the opener with four minutes on the clock.

The Bafana Bafana winger has looked his old self since passing on the armband to Dean Furman and showed great composure to race onto Jeremy Brockie's ball over the Ajax defensive line before chipping Anssi Jaakkola.

Ajax first shot in anger fell to Toriq Losper in the 18th minute, the attacker found a pocket of space, but was unable to curl his effort on target.

A quick throw in almost caught SuperSport napping soon after, to the frustration of Ronwen Williams, but lucky for the visitors Franklin Cale was unable to hit the target.

Phala was a constant threat on the counter and were it not for Abbubaker Mobara Jeremy Brockie would've tapped in to double the visitors lead on 38 minutes, the Urban Warriors defender with a timely intervention following a quick break down the right flank.

Losper looked the likely source to provide Ajax with the equaliser and the former Bidvest Wits man almost did just that with halftime approaching. He burst past two SuperSport defenders before firing a left-footed shot on goal, but Williams was down quickly to deny the hosts.

Roger de Sa introduced Bantu Mzawakali nine minutes into the second-half and the substitute almost had the desired impact, Williams though was well positioned to deny the attacker at the near post on the hour.

It would be another substitute to grab the headlines though, Nkhatha seeing red 13 minutes after coming off the bench.

Ajax were eager to pounce on the lifeline handed to them by the Zimbabwe attacker and went within inches of levelling matters in the 77th minute - Cale had Williams beaten, but not the crossbar.

Bongani Khumalo made his way onto the park with seven minutes of regulation time remaining as Matsatsantsa shut up shop successfully to to get back on track.

Ajax Cape Town (0)

SuperSport United (1) 1 (Phala 4')


Ajax Cape Town: Jaakkola; Mabaso (Ncube 70'), Mobara, Coetzee, Lebusa, E.Isaacs (Nxumalo 75'), Mdabuka (Mzawkali 54'), Scott, Losper, Cale, Paulse

SuperSport United: Williams; Kekana, Daniels, Farmer, Boxall, Mathebula (Mkhabela 40'), Furman, Cernak (B.Khumalo 83'), Wome (Nkhatha 59'), Phala, Brockie