Birds keep title hopes alive
Moroka Swallows logo (File)
Dobsonville - Moroka Swallows stayed in the Absa Premiership title hunt with a 2-1 victory over Platinum Stars in their Absa Premiership clash at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday.
The Birds looked to be cruising when they took a 2-0 lead early on thanks to a brace of goals for Siyabonga Nomvethe, but Stars never gave up and clawed their way back into the game thanks to a penalty from Henrico Botes.
Swallows lost defender Luvhengo Mungomeni to a red-card in the incident that led to the spot-kick and were hanging on with 10 men by the time the final whistle came.
The Birds remain two points behind League leaders Orlando Pirates and must now win their final fixture at Maritzburg United to have any chance if lifting the Absa Premiership title this season.
They would also need to hope that Pirates drop points in their final game away to Lamontville Golden Arrows.
The opening goal came as Bennett Chenene provided a tantalising cross to the near post and Nomvethe stole in ahead of the defenders to crash home a volley.
And he scored his 20th goal of the campaign from the penalty-spot just four minutes after that when Tshepo Moloto was clumsy in bringing down Chenene on the edge of the area.
Referee Jerome Damon was some way behind the play, but after consulting his assistant awarded the spot-kick.
Swallows continued to create the better chances after that, Nomvethe this time turned provider and he laid on a shooting chance for Chenene, but the winger’s goal-bound shot was well-saved by Mabokgwane.
Stars had an excellent chance of their own soon after halftime as Ntsikelelo Nyauza played in substitute Nathan Paulse, who all of a sudden had a clear sight of goal, but home goalkeeper Greg Etafia came off his line smartly to smother his shot.
Swallows almost scored again twice in a matter of two seconds. Mathebula’s free-kick from 35-yards crashed against the crossbar with Mabokgwane well beaten and the ball rebounded to Chenene with an the empty net gaping, but he could not steer his instinctive header on target.
But Stars were beginning show more dominance of the possession and they were handed a way back into the game. Mungomeni handled a goal-bound shot from Sipho Jembula on the goalline and once again referee Damon made the correct decision to award the spot-kick. That being the case, he had to give Mungomeni his marching orders too.
Botes made no mistake from the spot to score his ninth of the season.
Stars pushed hard for an equaliser after that and had a few half-chances, but were unable to force the ball home as Swallows did their best to wind down the clock.