New year, same old story for Ajax Cape Town & Bidvest Wits

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt BackpagePix

It may be a New Year, but it was the same old story for South African Premier Soccer League strugglers Bidvest Wits and Ajax Cape Town on Friday as they remain rooted to the foot of the table after two more defeats.

Champions Wits continued their inexplicable season with a 1-0 home loss to Free State Stars, while Ajax let an early lead slip as they were deserved 2-1 losers against Maritzburg United.

Wits handed debuts to new signings Lehlohonolo Majoro and Edwin Gyimah, and had the majority of possession, but their familiar struggles in front of goal let them down once more.

Thamsanqa Teyise netted the only goal of the game with a volleyed effort from a corner on 33 minutes, and Stars then put 11 men behind the ball as they desperately clung onto their lead.

Majoro had the best opportunity to level for Wits when he was clean through, but missed the target, and later had another chance at the back post that he could not steer on target.

Buhle Mkhwanazi, meanwhile, headed over the bar and Vincent Pule shot tamely at the Stars goal when well-placed,

The victory moves the visitors up to second in the league, three points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, though they have played two games more. Wits remain rooted to the foot of the table with just 11 points, and seven goals scored, all season.

Ajax are still second-bottom despite a bright start against Maritzburg, in which Tashreeq Morris netted with a header from Tercious Malepe's cross.

The goal had been set up by debutant Fagrie Lakay's fine run down the left flank, with his signature only secured on loan from SuperSport United on the morning of the game.

However, Maritzburg bossed the midfield and after having three very convincing penalty shouts turned down, eventually did equalise 40 seconds into the second period.

Evans Rusike provided a perfect through-ball for Deolin Mekoe to rifle home a shot into the bottom corner, and the visitors then hit the front as Mekoe turned provider when his corner was headed in by centre-back Siyanda Xulu.

Ajax, under new coach Muhsin Ertugral, who was forced to watch from the stands with his work permit application not yet processed, offered little going forward, though Morris had two half-chances, first firing over and then having the ball taken away from him just as he prepared to pull the trigger.

Ajax are next in action on Tuesday when they host Mamelodi Sundowns. They will hope to have Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro available as he too waits for his paperwork.