Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

South Africa: Pirates sneak title ahead of Ajax

Posted in African Football by peterbein on May 23, 2011

Orlando Pirates 2011 championsOrlando Pirates sneaked the South African ABSA Premiership title by virtue of goal difference and cruelly denied Ajax Cape Town the championship in the process.

With two points separating Ajax, who led the table going into the final round of matches, from the Pirates it seemed that the former would clinch their maiden title, especially given that they were at home to Maritzburg United who were languishing in the bottom half of the table. Orlando Pirates had to win their game at home to the Golden Arrows and hope that Ajax would drop points.

With both games being played at the same time Ajax Cape Town knew that they held the advantage at half-time as they were leading 1-0 thanks to a 43rd minute Khama Billiat goal whilst the Pirates were being held to a 1-1 draw in their game against Golden Arrows, Bongani Ndulula (Pirates) and Collins Mbesuma (Arrows) trading goals in the first half. After the break, however, the nerves started to show amongst the Ajax players as they allowed the visiting Maritzburg team into the game with goals from Gert Schalkwyk and Diyo Sibisi giving United the lead with twenty minutes remaining. As long as Orlando weren’t winning then even a defeat wouldn’t prove to be too devastating for Ajax.

The last ten minutes of the season for both teams sealed their fate. Orlando Pirates took a 2-1 lead against the Golden Arrows in the 84th minute with Isaac Chansa sending the home fans wild whilst, almost immediately, Ajax Cape Town equalized in their game with Sameegh Doutie restoring hope to his side’s supporters with four minutes remaining on the clock. There would be no more goalscoring action and the table showed both Orlando and Ajax as having 60 points each so the league was decided on goal difference. This was where the Pirates had the upper hand as they sneaked it with a superior difference of four goals; Orlando had an 18+ goal margin with Ajax only 14 goals better off and so it was that Orlando Pirates were crowned South African champions for the third time.

South Africa: Ajax battering takes title race to final day

Posted in African Football by peterbein on May 7, 2011

PSL TrophyAjax Cape Town began the day knowing that a win against Kaizer Chiefs would stand them in good stead in terms of the title race in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League. Instead they would be ruing a 4-0 battering at the hands of one of the country’s biggest clubs who kept alive their own title chances in the process.

The game was over as a contest by half-time as goals from Renielwe Letsholonyane, Knowledge Musona and Simphiwe Tschabalala gave Kaizer Chiefs a 3-0 lead at the break. Ajax Cape Town didn’t have the fight to come back in the second half and allowed their hosts a fourth goal when Tschabalala, who featured prominently for the Bafana Bafana in last year’s FIFA World Cup, scored his second goal of the game midway through the second half.

This slip gave second place Orlando Pirates a great opportunity to level with Ajax Cape Town on points but they would be left to wonder what might have been at the end of the game. Ajax’s local neighbours Santos FC Cape Town had the lead at half time after Erwin Isaacs’ 7th minute goal proved the difference between the sides at the break. For Orlando it looked like the chance to narrow the gap at the top had passed but Bongani Ndulula pounced in stoppage time to give the Pirates a deserved point.

With just one game to go in the Premier Soccer League, Ajax Cape Town (played 29, points 59) lead Orlando Pirates by two points who, in turn, are a further point ahead of Kaizer Chiefs. The final matchday of the season will see Ajax have a home tie against 12th place Maritzburg United whilst Orlando will face off against 10th place Lamontville Golden Arrows. The Kaizer Chiefs, meanwhile, will end their season with an away fixture at 13th place AmaZulu Durban.