Stars, Swallows share spoils
Bethlehem - Free State Stars brought an end to a three game losing streak when they held Moroka Swallows to a 2-2 draw in an Absa Premiership match played at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.
Defenders Rudi Isaacs and Lary Cohen were on target for the Birds whilst Ea Lla Koto’s foreign duo of Sadate Ouro-Akoriko and Abdul Basit rescued a point for the home side.
Swallows went in front as early as the second minute of the game. Defender Isaacs picked up where he left off midweek against Polokwane City where he had scored the winner.
This time he gave Swallows the opening when he headed home a corner kick cross with Stars keeper Daniel Agyei way off his line.
Stars looked certain to be facing an onslaught early on in the match after that early goal. They went looking for answers and nearly found an equaliser three minutes later but the crossbar came to Swallows’ aid after Paulus Masehe’s long range shot went through the hands of Swallows keeper Greg Etafia but the ball came off the crossbar.
Swallows took a slender one goal lead into the halftime break as they controlled the pace of the match with the home side not troubling them at the back.
Stars who was largely absent in the first half in front of their own fans were the better side in the second half as they turned the screws on the Birds. Their pressure finally broke Swallows’ defence when they equalised in the 72nd minute.
Swallows failed to clear the ball from a corner kick and Ouro-Akoriko was well positioned to direct the ball home with a simple tap in as he was unmarked.
The joy however was short lived for Themba Sithole’s side as they fell behind again six minutes after they had scored. Cohen headed home at the back post after a delightful cross by Nkosinathi Ogle who intelligently picked him out.
With the match destined for a Swallows win, a dreadful blunder gave Stars an early Christmas present. What should have been a routine pick up by Etafia resulted in Cohen accidently knocking him over and more importantly the ball slipped off his hands. Stars striker Basit could not believe his fortunes as he guided the ball into an empty net to make 2-2 with three minutes to play.
Free State Stars (0)2 Ouro-Akoriko 72’, Basit 87’
Moroka Swallows (1)2 Isaacs 2’, Cohen 79’TEAMS: Free State Stars:
Agyei, Ouro-Akoriko, Thlone, Masehe, Tshabalala, Wiltwer, Mthethwa (Kerspuy 81’), Venter (Sijoko 63’), Bobe, Basit (Sekola 95’), Mokoena Swallows:
Etafia, Isaacs, da Costa, Mokgothu, Mbekile, Nergadze (Bareng 58’), Cohen, Mabalane, Chabangu (Ogle 67’), Nomvethe, Manqele (Mungomeni 88’)