After going nine games without a win in the league, the Urban Warriors have managed to claim back-to-back victories, having beaten Platinum Stars last week, and have now moved out of the drop zone.
The game on Wednesday proved to be a riveting encounter with end-to-end action for the entire 90 minutes, Sundowns by no means outplayed, but just not able to make the most of their periods of dominance. In the end, it took two goals in two second-half minutes to separate the sides.
Following kick off, the Brazilians enjoyed nearly all of the early ball possession but were unable to create any clear chances on goal.
And as the game moved past the 10-minute mark, the home side began to find some rhythm and became increasingly confident and dangerous on attack.
Chances followed as Prince Nxumalo went close from a tight angle before Mark Mayambela shot too close to Downs keeper Denis Onyango after a typically surging run into the box on 20 minutes.
There was an even better opportunity for Mayambela seven minutes later after Thabo Mosadi had made inroads down the right flank, but his volley sailed high over the bar.
Ajax, however, looked up for the game and were close to going in front five minutes before halftime when Bantu Mzwakali’s free kick was tipped over the goal by a diving Onyango.
Mzwakali was close to putting the home side ahead three minutes after halftime, but pulled his shot from the edge of the box just wide, while at the other end of the field, Rivaldo Coetzee made a brilliant tackle to stop a goal-bound Percy Tau.
The Tshwane team began to take control of proceedings, yet again it was Ajax who had a very good chance on goal after Erwin Isaacs played in Nxumalo, whose first-time volleyed lob just failed to find the net with Onyango out his goal.
The breakthrough came with the Urban Warriors’ next attack, on 70 minutes, a sweeping move ending with Mzwakali crossing for Mosadi to tap into an empty net.
The second goal, just two minutes later, was similarly worked; this time it was Mayambela who did the hard work down the flank, crossing for Ndiviwe Mdabuka for an easy finish.
There were moments in both goal boxes before the end of the game, including an added-time opportunity for Leonardo Castro. But he failed to beat Jody February as the Urban Warriors picked up a vital win which could perhaps help them turn a poor season around; the energy and commitment they put out certainly suggested the hosts are starting to find their mojo under new head coach Stanely Menzo.