It’s tough times for Ajax Cape Town with the club having lost three and drawn one of their last four games.
They met Free State Stars for the second time in 10 days at Athlone Stadium on Saturday for a Nedbank Cup last-32 clash.
This was the chance, I reckon, to show some character with two big motivating factors.
First, Ea Le Koto had beaten them 1-0 in Bethlehem in the PSL, a game Ajax felt they could have won had it not been for missed chances.
And secondly they were beaten on penalties in the Nedbank Cup final last season so surely this young team would be hungry to return and re-write history.
Yes they made amends by winning the MTN8, but it’s not exactly the same thing.
Instead, though, it was the visiting side who showed more hunger and desire to win the Cup tie, which they did.
The Urban Warriors were again guilty of missed chances and I thought they could have been out of sight already in the first half had Bantu Mzwakali and Tashreeq Morris converted some of the golden opportunities they had.
Instead it was Free State Stars who went ahead, former Ajax midfielder Nhlanhla Vilakazi with the goal.
Vilakazi had been in the wars in the middle of the park and was getting some rough treatment from Travis Graham all game, but he managed to get a goal which came almost out of nothing.
But the sides went into half time all square thanks to Justice Chabalala’s own goal.
So Ajax didn’t even score their equaliser, meaning Stars scored all three goals on the night.
Now, for me, the difference between the two sides came in the second half when Ea Le Koto were able to find another gear to shift into.
They controlled things and scored a brilliant winner through Ayanda Nkosi, although all credit for the build-up must go to Danny Venter.
After that Ajax seemed to wilt.
Yes, this was their third game in the 10 days since they faced Stars in the league, while their opponents had not played any, but you would think these youngsters would show some fight.
It was clear for all to see they had given up in the last 15 minutes, but more disappointing is had they manpushed for a goal, they would probably have gone on to win the tie.