Johannesburg - A single goal from the Absa Premiership’s top goal scorer, Katlego Mphela, was enough to decide the outcome of the league match between Moroka Swallows and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday night.
The 1-0 win sees the Brazilians move into the top five of the league table, in sight of the league leaders SuperSport United. It was a controlled first half performance and an organised defensive unit in the second half that saw them walk away with the three points.
Swallows were simply too defensive in the first half, playing two defensive players in the middle of the park. This allowed the Sundowns attackers a lot of time on the ball which they took full use of.
Despite dictating terms in the first half, it was the Birds who had the first real chance on goal in the 22nd minute.
Somewhat against the run of play Swallows had a free-kick in the Sundowns half on the right side of the field. Lefa Tsutsulupa proceeded to deliver the ball into the box which Brian Baloyi fumbled, spilling it straight into the path of Davi Rancan. The Birds midfielder’s shot, however, was cleared off the goal line despite beating the keeper.
For the remainder of the first half Swallows were virtually spectators as Sundowns pressed forward.
It wasn’t to be long before we saw the only goal of the game when Mphela put the Brazilians in front in the 36th minute with a classic striker’s finish. After a swift counter-attacking move, Esrom Nyandoro provided a great through ball for Mphela to run onto. Mphela still had a lot of work to do and did brilliantly, beating Etafia on the near post with a clinical finish, 1-0.
The second half saw Swallows making two early changes, bringing on Sibusiso Khumalo and Igor Alves for Davi Rancan and Kagiso Denge respectively. They were done with their defensive tactics and were determined to push forward, but did so with no success.
Sundowns were well organized in defence and held on for the win. And they even could have doubled their lead in the 73rd minute after a passing movement saw Mphela through on goal with just the keeper to beat. But he pushed his effort just wide of the target. It was enterprising play by Sundowns and deserved a goal.
Nonetheless, they were never really threatened at the back and deserved the win. Swallows, on the other hand, will be sorry they started so defensively. It will be back to the drawing board for them.
Moroka Swallows 0
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Mphela 36’)
Swallows: (4-4-2) Etafia; Mphahlele, Hendricks, Cichon, Kobola; Denge (Alves 46’), Rancan (Khumalo 46’), Tsutsulupa, Ritchie; Haschick, Ndlela (Botha 72’)
Sundowns: (4-4-2) Baloyi; Mere, Mungomeni, Xulu, Mdledle; Pelembe 9Katongo 88’), Nyandoro, Vilakazi (Zothwane 63’), Pattison; Mokoena (Ngubane 77’), Mphela