Birds through to Top 8 final
A DEVASTATING opening 20 minutes from Moroka Swallows saw them run out 3-2 winners over Mamelodi Sundowns in yesterday's MTN 8 semi-final second leg thriller at Dobsonville Stadium.
The Birds progressed to the September 22 final against SuperSport United with a 6-5 aggregate score following a 3-3 draw in the first leg in Atteridgeville.
Swallows' three goals came from Lerato Chabangu (two) and Bennett Chenene in an opening quarter that had Sundowns in disarray.
In a display of free-flowing football that evoked days gone by in SA football, Downs pulled one back via Teko Modise in the 23rd minute, then another through Nyasha Mushekwi deep in injury time.
With the high standard of the semifinals - SuperSport were impressive 3-0 winners over Orlando Pirates in the second leg at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night after a goalless first leg - the final will be much anticipated.
Swallows' pacey front-line tore Downs to shreds in the opening quarter.
The Birds opened the scoring when Chabangu smacked home Siyabonga Nomvethe's cross in the 10th minute. Four minutes later the same pair were provider and finisher again, Nomvethe slipping Chabangu through to rifle home powerfully. In the 19th minute Lefa Tstutsulupa's shot was blocked by Downs goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, but Chenene headed in the rebound.
Sundowns only had to wait four minutes for a reply, as Modise curled in a free-kick from outside the area.
Tebogo Langerman almost made it game on again when his free-kick skimmed the crossbar in the 35th minute.
The Sundowns winger had another chance to reduced the deficit just after the break, getting a foot to Modise's cross, but Birds goalkeeper Greg Etafia produced an excellent reflex save.
Sundowns ran out of ideas and Swallows could even have added a fourth through substitute Katlego Mashego. Shortly after replacing Joseph Makhanya he had a shot blocked by Clayton Daniels in the 81st .
Mushekwi missed a sitter in the 87th. The Zimbabwean did finally blast in a left-footed effort three minutes into injury time, but that was too late.