Swallows soar to top of PSL

2011-10-29 06:20
Siyabonga Nomvethe (Gallo Images)
Soweto - Moroka Swallows defeated Ajax Cape Town 3-2 at the Dobsonville Stadium on Friday to move to the top of the Absa Premiership standings.
The Birds have now won five of their last six league games - but they very nearly threw this game away in the last 15 minutes, conceding two goals to an Urban Warriors team who refused to give in... even when they were three goals down and reduced to ten men.
The first genuine chance of the game went the way of Ajax, with Terror Fanteni getting away a shot that was half saved by goalkeeper Greg Etafia - defender Luvhengo Mungomeni then cleared the loose ball before it could loop into the back of the net.
That Ajax chance seemed to spark Swallows into life and they went on to dominate the rest of the first half, repeatedly testing goalkeeper Sander Westerveld from both long range attempts and set pieces.
Ajax fielded the versatile Nhlanhla Shabalala as a makeshift centre-back but he really struggled and was lucky not to be punished by Lerato Chabangu and Siyabonga Nomvethe after completely missing a clearance in the 31st minute.
But just ten minutes later Shabalala conceded a soft penalty, bringing down Nomvethe in the box by wrestling him to the ground. The Swallows striker duly converted the penalty to leave the Soweto side 1-0 up at the half-time break.
And within fifteen minutes of the restart, the Birds were 3-0 up. Giorgi Nergadze netted a sublime goal on 50 minutes - cracking home a left-footed volley after a brilliantly worked corner kick routine - and Nomvethe got his second of the night ten minutes later from a route-one attack.
At that stage it seemed as if Swallows could rack up a really impressive score line, such was their dominance. However, they took their foot off the pedal and allowed Ajax back into the game, despite the visitors being reduced to ten men on 73 minutes when Nhlanhla Vilakazi was red carded for kicking out in retaliation at MacBeth Sibaya.
Khama Billiat netted on 75 minutes after controlling a long ball out of defence, and Ajax soon had a chance to pull another back when they were awarded a penalty. Fanteni’s kick was saved by Etafia but a retake was ordered - the second spot kick was also kept out by the Nigerian keeper.
Substitute Brent Carelse rattled the crossbar as the Urban Warriors continued to press forward and the midfielder did manage to get his name on the score sheet on 88 minutes, converting a spot kick to set up a tense final few minutes.
Swallows, though, saw out the match to clinch their sixth win from seven outings in all competitions.


Moroka Swallows (1) 3 (Nomvethe 42’ pen 60’, Nergadze 50’)
Ajax Cape Town (0) 2 (Billiat 75’, Carelse 88’ pen)

Etafia; Isaacs, Hendricks, Mungomeni, Mayinga, Makhanya (Machapa 63’), Nergadze, Tsutsulupa, Mathebula (Sibaya 69’), Chabangu (Maleka 83’), Nomvethe
Ajax: Westerveld; Hlatshwayo (Carelse 64’), Shabalala, Mokeke, Jenniker, Alexander, Vilakazi, Maluleka, Manyama (Lolo 46’), Fanteni (van Graan 81’), Billiat

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