Swallows, Stars in stalemate

2011-12-17 17:55
Siyabonga Nomvethe (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Platinum Stars shared the spoils with Moroka Swallows, drawing their Premiership encounter 0-0 in the seering Rustenburg heat at Moruleng Stadium on Saturday.

The fixture - which is the penultimate round of matches of the year - lacked entertainment for the partisan crowd, needing a goal to give it some spark.

It started off with some promise after Swallows' busy striker, Siyabonga Nomvethe, made a characteristic goalward run that was only halted by poor finishing. He had ventured to the box in the fifth minute.

Stars pressed forward seven minutes later with their nimble winger, Thuso Phala, whose control in the box was also poor as Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia easily collected from his feet.

The home team also survived a near own goal midway through the half, when defender Mbuyiselo Sambu's misdirected header from a Lefa Tsutsulupa free-kick forced an acrobatic save from his own keeper, Siyabonga Mphontshane.

In the 36th minute, Stars striker Henrico Botes, having been put through, was denied by an agile Etafia, before midfielder Sibusiso Msomi wasted a free-kick, shooting wide of goal.

Swallows, with only Nomvethe employed upfront and Lerato Chabangu playing from deep, struggled to thread through any offensive moves, and lacked the sharpness they had in their 4-1 win over Ajax Cape Town from their previous match two weekends ago.

Stars, meanwhile, surged forward in the final half hour, in an effort to sneak in a late attempt at collecting the three points on offer. Midfielder Joseph Molongoane came close after 75 minutes, but needed an outstretched Luvhengo Mungomeni left foot to thwart his effort.

Molongoane went on to set up striker Terrence Mandaza, who had come on for Phala a few moments earlier, but saw his effort pelted away by Etafia.

They now have gone six matches without a league win, leaving them rooted in a mid-table spot.

Swallows missed out on an opportunity to solidify third place on the log with the two dropped points.

Both sides' final league matches of the year before the extended festive season recess are on Wednesday evening.

Stars travel to Bidvest Wits, while Swallows are at home to Maritzburg United in Dobsonville.

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