Sporting Lisbon beat Ajax Cape Town 4-2 on penalties, in an entertaining match at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night. The match ended 2-2 after 90 minutes, which sent the match into a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner. Sporting’s goalkeeper Rui Patricio was the difference in the shoot-out as he saved two penalties which ensured his sides progression to final of the Cape Town Cup.
Ajax made a lively start with winger Riyaad Norodien looking dangerous on the right wing. But Sporting took the lead in the 19th minute when Carlos Mane evaded his marker and got onto a cross from the left wing and slid the ball past Ajax keeper Anssi Jaakkola. The Portuguese side nearly doubled their lead in the 28th minute but a last ditch challenge from Rivaldo Coetzee denied them a chance to go two goals ahead. Seconds later Ajax had a chance to equalise when Bantu Mzwakali was sent through on goal but his effort was well saved by Sporting keeper Patricio. Islam Slimani then had two wonderful opportunities to increase his team’s lead but he couldn’t find the back of the net. Patricio again denied Ajax an equalising goal with a well timed intervention. Slimani was giving the Ajax defenders a tough time but he just couldn’t find his scoring boots. Norodien then produced some good skill to evade the Sporting right back but his shot was well saved by Patricio.
It was a good display of attacking football from both sides but Sporting went into the half-time break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
Sporting made six changes at the half-time break, with Ajax sticking with the same eleven players they used in the first half. Ajax again made a bright start to the half with Mzwakali and Norodien looking threatening. The changes seemed to have affected Sporting’s rhythm as their level of play dropped in the open stages of the 2nd half. In the 62nd minute, Mzwakali missed a gilt-edged opportunity to draw level, when he put his shot over the bar after being played in on goal by Ruzaigh Gamildien. Ajax pressed for the equalising goal and they were awarded a penalty in the 67th minute, when a Sporting defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area. Cecil Lolo scored from the spot to make it 1-1. Then in the 80th minute, Ajax took the lead when substitute Franklyn Cale received a wonderful through ball from Toriq Losper and the winger made no mistake as he calmly placed the ball into the back of the net. Ajax thought they had the winner but Sporting were relentless in their pursuit of the equalising goal. New signing Teofilo Gutierrez struck a powerful long range shot, that was excellently saved by Jaakkola . But from the resultant corner kick, substitute Ruben Semedo headed in the equalising goal, to make the scoreline 2-2, with five minutes remaining. Ajax nearly snatched a late goal but Prince Nxumalo and Losper couldn’t find the winner. The game ended 2-2 and went straight to a penalty shoot-out.
Sporting Lisbon went on to win the penalty shoot-out 4-2, after their keeper Rui Patricio showed his pedigree and class by saving Cale and Abbubaker Mobara’s spot kicks. Sporting will now face Crystal Palace in the Cape Town Cup final on Sunday.