Dutch coach Maarten Stekelenburg made a dream debut as Ajax Cape Town defeated SuperSport United 5-2 today in a Top 8 Cup quarter-final that launched the South African season. Promoted when compatriot Foppe de Haan retired after taking Ajax to second place in the league last May, Stekelenburg said he was very proud of the victory at Cape Town Stadium on a cold winter night.
Ajax cruised to a 3-0 half-time lead only to concede two goals and have several lucky escapes before late goals from Terror Fanteni and Zimbabwean Khama Billiat sealed a last-four place.
"I am very proud of the boys for a fantastic job. We played good football in the first half but I need to talk to my players about some of the second-half defending," said former Ajax Cape Town youth coach Stekelenburg. "This is a club where the philosophy of playing Dutch-style football is more important than any individual. It is a philosophy that is easy to speak about but more difficult to execute every week."
SuperSport, who slipped to mid table last season after three consecutive league titles, had Ajax on the rack in the closing stages until Zambian Davies Nkausu was sent off for dissent after conceding a penalty. Fanteni sent former South Africa goalkeeper Rowan Fernandez the wrong way from the 85th-minute spot kick and Billiat struck just before full-time after a counterattack caught United napping.
Fanteni, Billiat and new signing Sici Shelembe scored within 33 minutes of the kick-off as Ajax shrugged off the close-season loss of 2011 South African Footballer of the Year Thulani Serero to Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam.
Thandani Ntshumayelo triggered a fightback by stabbbing the ball into the net from close range and Jabu Maluleke added a second 18 minutes from full-time when he scored direct from a free kick.