Johannesburg - AmaZulu continued their dominance over Moroka Swallows by beating them for the third time this season, eliminating the defending Nedbank Cup champions in the Last 16 phase at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Saturday evening via a penalty shoot out to progress to the quarterfinals.
It was a game that started slowly but grew into an exciting contest as it progressed, and eventually AmaZulu prevailed by winning the shootout 6-5.
The Highveld was drenched with incessant rain all day on Saturday, so the wet surface and overall cold conditions in Johannesburg were always going to make things more of a challenge for the teams in this cup match.
It was the home team who were first on the attack in the creating a path to goal after just six minutes. Collins Mbesuma managed to hold up the ball just inside the left border of the AmaZulu 18-yard area and played the ball back to Auguston Leonard who drove the ball and had Gindre scrambling to his right. The AmaZulu keeper was able to block the ball and Marc van Heerden stormed in to clear the danger.
Leonard was proving to be a problem that AmaZulu were finding difficult to contain early on and in the 12th minute inside the danger area he managed to collect a long throw from Morgan Shivambu on the right and spun round Warren Bishop but hit his shot into the side netting.
Neil Tovey’s frustration at his side being unable to conjure up real goal scoring opportunities soon turned to joy two minutes later: with their first attempt on target Amazulu were ahead. It came when Dumisani Ngwenya picked up a short throw on the right and floated the ball towards goal.
The cross was met by the head of the on rushing Ntokozo Sikhakhane, who got to the ball ahead of Ashraf Hendricks and his downward header bounced awkwardly for Greg Etafia and crept under the Swallows keeper, who could not get a hold of the ball and he had to watch agonizingly as it crossed the line to give AmaZulu the lead.
In a twelve minute blitz on the AmaZulu goal mid way through the second half, Swallows managed to go level and also took the lead, both goals coming off corners. The first in the 66th minute came in fortuitous circumstances for Swallows: Lefa Tsutsulupa turned in a perfect corner from the left and Shivambu got a slight touch to the ball, heading onto the far post. As the ball ricocheted off the back it hit AmaZulu defender van Heerden on the head and went into the empty net to see Swallows draw level.
Three minutes on, from another Tsutsulupa corner on the left, AmaZulu could only clear as far as Thato Ferland, who hit the ball first time back towards goal. Gindre made the initial save but could not bring the ball under control and Shivambu pounced on the rebound to knock it home and hand Swallows the lead for the first time in the match.
Van Heerden was sent off in the 76th minute for AmaZulu, shown a straight red card for an over-the-top challenge. Having the numerical advantage saw Swallows able to attack at will and it took some braving goalkeeping from Gindre in the 79th minute to stop Leonard from finding a third goal for Swallows.
Two minutes from regulation time AmaZulu found an unlikely equaliser. Pere Ariweriyai sent in a long free kick and Shivambu’s headed clearance hit teammate Mashishi and it fell into the path of Gumede, who blasted the ball past Etafia to draw the teams level with just two minutes to play in regulation time.
In extra time Swallows had calls for a penalty turned down after Gilbert was pulled down by Gindre, who hesitated while making a clearance of the ball in the 106th minute; when Gilbert attacked him he resorted to pulling the Swallows man aside.
The Birds, through Leonard, hit the AmaZulu up right in the 113th minute. With neither team able to break the deadlock, the second successive Nedbank Cup Last 16 game headed to penalties.
In the shootout both teams managed to convert their first five kicks and it was in sudden death when Phumelele Bhengu missed his penalty, hitting his spot kick wide of the mark. Dumisani Ngwenya then turned home Amazulu’s sixth kick to send them through to the next round.
Moroka Swallows (0) (2) 2 (van Heerden og 66’, Shivambu 69’)
AmaZulu (1) (2) 2 (Sikhakhane 34’, Gumede 88’)
A.e.t. – AmaZulu win 6-5 on penalties
Swallows (4-4-2): Etafia, Bhengu, Hendricks, Cichon, Ferland (Radebe 90’), Gilbert, Tsutsulupa (Vilakazi 82’), Mphahlele, Shivambu Leonard, Mbesuma (Mashishi 80’)
AmaZulu: (4-4-2): Gindre, Bishop, Van Heerden, Biyela (Gumede), Ariweriyai, Mokoro, Mabaso (Zwane 88’), Sangweni, Sikhakhane (Dlamini 74’), Ngwenya, Ritson.