Swallows win, but it's not enough for title
Inspirational Swallows captain Lefa Tsutsulupa broke United’s stubborn defence in the 69th minute to score his team’s crucial winning goal but the final log standings have Pirates top of the log
Despite Moroka Swallows’ 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday, it was not enough to win their inaugural Premiership title as Orlando Pirates retained their crown.
On the final day of the 2011/12 league campaign, second-placed Swallows needed to win with Orlando Pirates either losing or drawing their fixture against Golden Arrows in Durban.
Inspirational Swallows captain Lefa Tsutsulupa broke United’s stubborn defence in the 69th minute to score his team’s crucial winning goal but the final log standings have Pirates top of the log with 58 points while the Birds ended a fairy tale season in the second spot on 56 points.
Swallows had started nervously against Maritzburg lacking cohesiveness.
They easily lost possession while struggling to probe the hosts’ solid defence.
Their dangerman and the league’s top scorer, Siyabonga Nomvethe, was not afforded space to create any opportunities causing little threat to the Team of Choice.
United were more menacing upfront as Swallows keeper Greg Etafia thwarted a close range chance from Felix Obada in the opening minutes.
Then Philani Zulu found Kurt Lentjies, whose header was aimed straight at Etafia midway through the half.
Shortly before the break, Byrone Hendricks stretched the Birds’ defence further with Ashraf Hendrick needing to clear a cross with nippy Cuthbert Malajila lurking behind him.
In search of an icebreaker, Swallows came to life in the second half after stern words from coach Gordon Igesund, search for his fifth championship winners’ medal.
Their first clear chance came from talisman Nomvethe but his shot went wide of the target.
United could have taken the lead against the run of play from a marauding Ryan de Jongh run, with the wingback’s final shot stopped by Etafia.
Nomvethe “scored” in the 62nd minute but was adjudged to be offside by referee Daniel Bennett before Tsutsulupa scored the crucial opener moments later.
Chabangu nearly doubled the margin soon after, but his long range shot was pelted away by Shu-Aib Walters in the United goal.
Their final chance from Joseph Makhanya, in the closing stages, went wide of goal.
United came close to equalising in the dying moments as substitute Diyo Sibisi finished wide at close range.