Swallows, 'Downs share spoils

2012-02-25 10:27
Moroka Swallows (Gallo Image)

Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows and log leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw in an exciting Premiership encounter in Dobsonville on Friday evening.

Swallows took a 18th minute lead through midfielder Bennett Chenene who finished off winger Joseph Makhanya's hard graft on the edge of the box.

On the stroke of half-time and against the run of play, Nyasha Mushekwi equalised for the visitors after being set up by Lebohang Mokoena for the 1-1 interval score.

Sundowns went on to take the lead through their inspirational captain Teko Modise in the 57th minute.

However, the determined hosts replied through Makhanya, catching the Brazilians defence napping three minutes later.

The match was a thrilling one for the spectators who saw end to end football that was well worth the fixture's hype.

Swallows were far superior and sharper than the league's log leaders in the first 45 minutes, in comparison to their 3-0 loss to Chiefs last weekend.

The nippy Makhanya on the right flank was a arguably the Birds' best player on the night.

He combined well with striker Siyabonga Nomvethe, and was a constant threat to Sundowns left-back Punch Masenamela.

With top striker Katlego Mphela suspended for the game, Sundowns struggled to break through the final half of the field.

They still fashioned shots from a distance through Modise and three from fellow midfielder, Hlompho Kekana.

One shot from Kekana in the 29th minute drew a blinding save from Greg Etafia, where the Swallows goalkeeper did well to tip the shot over the bar.

Having drawn level with the last play of the opening stanza, Sundowns surged forward in the second-half with Mushekwi drawing a save from Etafia after 50 minutes.

They managed to snatch the lead moments later, though lack of concentration saw Swallows level matters.

Swallows then found their footing again as they searched for a goal that would see them take the lead again.

Their captain Lefa Tsutsulupa managed to break through, unleashing a shot outside the penalty box area that was saved by Wayne Sandilands in the Sundowns goal.

Sundowns looked to find momentum with the introduction of tricky winger Elias Pelembe for Mokoena for the final 15 minutes of the clash.

With nine minutes left, Mushekwi managed to hit the crossbar with a cross on the left flank with Etafia back peddling.

Etafia again thwarted Mushekwi's final effort in the dying moments as he held on to a strong header after a pinpoint cross from Anthony Laffor on the right hand side.

The match finished with the Pretoria outfit playing their second consecutive draw, having also been held to a 0-0 draw by struggling Jomo Cosmos last weekend.

With the one point gained, Sundowns now have 36 points after 18 matches - four more than SuperSport United, who could cut the deficit to one point if they beat AmaZulu on Saturday.

Third-placed Kaizer Chiefs are also equal with United on points, and will also maintain the pressure on Sundowns with a win over Bidvest Wits in Nelspruit.

Sixth-placed Swallows now carry 30 points from their 18 games.

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