birds fly to victory

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Two late goals by second half substitutes, Sandile Ndlovu and Maimane Phiri, were good enough to steer Moroka Swallows to a 3-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic in an Absa Premiership match at Germiston Stadium yesterday.

It was a sweet revenge for the Beautiful Birds who were defeated 2-0 by the same Phunya SeleSele in their first round clash in August.

For Celtic, they have themselves to blame for the defeat after squandering a dozen scoring opportunities

Swallows began the game with winger Japhet Zwane firing a fierce shot to test goalkeeper Postnet Omony. Two minutes later, Celtic's Ntokozo Sikhakhane narrowly shot wide after being set free by Lebohang Kukame.

In the 15th minute, Kukame fluffed a golden opportunity as he hesitated allowing Swallows' goalie Greg Etafia to dispossess him.

Omony was again called upon to fist a thunderous shot from Bevan Fransman to concede a corner kick in the 37th minute.

Phunya SeleSele were the first to draw blood in the 44th minute through striker Darrel Smith after a defensive error by the Israel-bound Fransman.

Veteran Swallows defender and captain Patrick Mabedi levelled matters in the 78th minute with a fine header after a free kick by Cecil Oersen, which clearly brought relief to coach Ian Gorowa. At this stage, Swallows were beginning to gain the upper hand, with Celtic resorting to defending.

It came as no surprise when Ndlovu, who came on for Alton Meiring, put Swallows 2-1 up a good work on the right flank by Oersen. Phiri, who replaced Japhet Zwane in the 86th minute, sealed the game in the 87th to score his second goal and third for Swallows in less than a week.

Gorowa, said: "I told my players at interval that I was not happy with our approach in front of goals, I instructed them to be more aggressive. It's not surprising that we have won the game."

On the other hand, Khabo Zondo, Celtic coach, said: "The injury to Tumelo Nhlapo and Lebohang Kukame destroyed our plans, but we still should have won the game. We missed too many scoring opportunities."