Swallows triumph in MTN8 final
Bennett Chenene (Backpage)
Soweto - Moroka Swallows ended a 33-year wait for glory in the MTN8 by defeating SuperSport United 2-1 in the final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night. Bennett Chenene
scored the decisive goal four minutes from the end of regulation time after earlier goals from Franklin Cale
and Giorgi Nergadze had left the teams deadlocked and seemingly headed for extra time.
Swallows appeared to settle the quicker of the two teams, but United surged ahead in the fifth minute. Sameehg Doutie played a defence-splitting pass to put Franklin Cale
one-on-one with the goalkeeper and the winger easily finished to make it 1-0.
The Birds struck back on 18 minutes, with Giorgi Nergadze the unlikely goal scorer. The midfielder sent a long range shot past the right-hand of Rowen Fernandez
and into the back of the net via the inside of the upright.
SuperSport almost reclaimed the lead immediately through defender Bevan Fransman, who flicked on from a Cale free kick and watched the ball flash agonisingly wide of the far post.
On 26 minutes Katlego Mashego should have put the Birds ahead, having cut inside Mor Diouf to be faced with only the ‘keeper to beat, but he scooped his effort over the crossbar from just a few metres out.
Just past the half hour mark it was United’s turn to threaten again, with Doutie exchanging passes with Sibusiso Zuma
before seeing his goal-bound effort brilliantly turned away by Greg Etafia.
SuperSport had the first shot in anger of the second half, with Cale shooting through the defensive wall from a free kick only for Etafia to once again come up with a good stop.
Swallows then had a spell of pressure in which they almost forced a goal. Fernandez had to come up with a good save to keep out a Felix Obada shot from a tight angle, and Mor Diouf then cleared a Lerato Chabangu effort off the goal-line.
With just under 10 minutes to play, Swallows had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down when the ball struck Fransman on the arm in the box, and United then went on a quick counter attack which saw Khenyeza blaze a shot high and wide when he perhaps should have scored.
On 86 minutes Swallows finally got their goal, with a long ball springing the offside trap and sending Chenene through on goal. The in-form winger calmly lobbed the advancing Fernandez to make it 2-1 and hand Swallows the MTN8 crown.