Swallows cruise into semis
Moroka Swallows booked their place in the semifinals of the MTN8 with a deserved 2-0 win over AmaZulu at the Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Siyabonga Nomvethe added to Lerato Chabangu’s first-half goal as the Dube Birds proved to be too strong for the visitors.
Moroka Swallows started the game brightly as they seemed to handle the windy conditions better than their opponents, playing short passes on the ground.
Siyabonga Nomvethe kept the AmaZulu defence on their toes in the opening minutes of the game although he was unable to test the goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.
The visitors almost opened the scoring against the run of play in the 20th minute when Josef Lekata found Ayanda Dlamini, who then took the ball wide of the goalkeeper on the left before blasting his shot over the crossbar.
Five minutes later it was Lekata who had the opportunity to fire at the target when he collected the ball inside the penalty area before executing a brilliant turn, but his low shot went straight to Greg Etafia’s gloves.
Then in the 27th minute Lefa Tsutsulupa tried to catch Kapini with a low cross-cum shot at the near post, but the experienced goalkeeper was able to make the save.
Bongani Mbele, who was full of running on the left flank, almost caught Etafia off guard in the 30th minute but his powerful shot flew just over the crossbar.
The opening goal eventually came in the 33rd minute when Tsutsulupa delivered a teasing cross from the right for Chabangu to sidefoot his volley into the back of the net.
Zeca Marques’s men thought they had won a penalty two minutes later when Bennet Chenene was brought down by Mxolisi Mayongo inside the box, but the referee waved away the appeals.
Usuthu then came close to getting the equaliser on the stroke of halftime when they won a freekick on the left, but Kagiso Senamela’s effort came off the crossbar with Etafia well-beaten.
Swallows came back strongly in the second half and almost extended their advantage in the 53rd minute when Chenene connected with a cross from Nomvethe but his overhead kick went just wide of the target.
Five minutes later Ashraf Hendricks forced a brilliant save from Kapini as he got his powerful header on target, connecting with a corner from Lefa Tsutsulupa.
The home side continued to pile on the pressure and in the 62nd minute Giorgi Nergadze saw his header coming off the far upright.
The second goal did arrive a minute later as Nomvethe continued from where he left off last season, nodding the ball past Kapini from a brilliant cross from Chabangu.
The last ten minutes of the game saw AmaZulu pressing forward in search of the goal which was going to bring them back into contention with Mbele firing his volley just wide of the post in the 80th minute, while Goodman Dlamini also shot wide a minute later.
New recruit Sifiso Vilakazi also had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 86th minute when he was put through on the left side, but he sent his low shot right across Etafia’s goal, while Van Heerden saw his freekick coming off the woodwork a minute later.
The last chances of the match fell for Chenene as he was denied by the post in the 88th minute, before firing a powerful shot straight at Kapini moments later.
Moroka Swallows (0) 2 ( Chabangu 33’, Nomvethe 63’)
Moroka Swallows: Etafia, Mapemba, Hendricks, Nergadze, Lekgothoane, Sibaya, Tsutsulupa (Twala 90’), Chabangu (Machapa 78’), Chenene, Nomvethe, Obada (Makhanya 75’)
AmaZulu: Kapini, Mokoro, Van Heerden, Mayongo, Teyise, Zhuwawo, G. Dlamini, Mbele, Senamela (Khumalo 70’), A. Dlamini (Thwala 80’), Lekata (Vilakazi 52’)