Johannesburg - Moroka Swallows came from behind to register a 1-1 draw with Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership encounter played at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Saturday afternoon.
Thokozani Sekotlong opened the scoring for the visitors before United goalkeeper Shuaib Walters gifted the Dube Birds the equaliser, which was scored by Luvhengo Mungomeni.
The stalemate never the less takes Swallows to the summit of the table.
Swallows coach Zeca Marquez made no changes to the starting 11 that beat SuperSport United. Larry Cohen partnered Roger da Costa in defence while the impressive trio of Lerato Chabangu, Edward Manqele and Siyabonga Nomvethe lined up in attack yet again.
Maritzburg mentor Ernst Middendorp handed Philani Zulu his first start for the club while Ghanaian Mohammed Awal returned to the starting 11. Youngster Ayanda Nkosi, who scored on his debut in the win over Mpumalanga Black Aces last time out, kept his place in the side.
The Dube Birds started the brighter of the two sides with Georgian midfielder Giorgi Nergadze, Nomvethe and Chabangu especially keeping the Maritzburg defence busy.
Nomvethe drew Maritzburg shot stopper Shuaib Walters into a great save just before the half hour mark. Chabangu played the veteran forward in behind the United defence with a clever dink, Nomvethe though was superbly denied by an alert Walters in goal.
Walters again came to Maritzburg’s rescue four minutes before the break, doing well to deny Edward Manqele a fifth goal of the season after he was played in by Lefa Tsutsulupa.
The half ended goalless with Swallows entering the changing rooms the more frustrated of the two side’s as they were unable to beat a brilliant Walters in goal for the Team of Choice.
The first stanza was notably very physical with Levi Mokgothu probably a tad lucky that he wasn’t sent off for what looked like an elbow charge in first half stoppage time.
Maritzburg were dealt an early blow in the second half with Mohammed Yakuba being forced off the pitch duo to injury. The Ghanaian forward was replaced by former University of Pretoria striker Thokozani Sekotlong.
Like in the first half, Swallows controlled most of the second 45, but found it difficult to turn possession and chances into goals.
Maritzburg United, on the other hand, took their chances as substitute Sekotlong found the back of the net for the visitors with their first real chance in the 69th minute of the match.
The former Tuks forward stroke a first time shot past a helpless Greg Etafia following a clever pass from Dillon Sheppard.
Walters turned from hero to instant villain in the 76th minute. The United shot stopper, who virtually kept the away side in the game in the first stanza, surrendered possession to a wary Dikgang Mabalane who in turn found Luvhengo Mungomeni in the area who nodded home to square things up once again.
Both sides went in search of the winner but came up short. The draw moves Swallows to the top of the table while the team of Choice are in ninth position on the log.
Moroka Swallows (0) 1 (Mungomeni 76’)
Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Sekotlong 69’)
Moroka Swalllows: Etafia; Mungomeni,da Costa, Cohen,Mokgothu,Nergadze, Tsutsulupa (Mabalane 67’), Mbekile; Chabangu, Manqele (Obada 74’), Nomvethe
Maritzburg United:Walters; Mkhize, Booysen M, Johannes, Cloete, Morton, Awal, Hartog (Sheppard 22’), Zulu (De Jongh 90’), Nkosi, Yakubu (Sekotlong 48’)