Birds toil to oust Ajax CT
Moroka Swallows had a close shave when they managed to show a doughty nine-man Ajax Cape Town the exit with a 4-3 win in the MTN 8 at Olympia Park Stadium on Saturday.
Although two of their players, Nhlanhla Kubheka and Nhlanhla Shabalala, were red-carded by referee Wandile Mfiki, the Urban Warriors did not disappoint and were instead the better side.
After the game, Swallows' Brazilian defender Davi Afonso said it was a tough game and was glad that they won.
"We played well in the opening stanza but we lost concentration in the second half, allowing them back into the game," Afonso said.
"They are a young and good side, and they played like men possessed. But I was very tired and the final whistle was a relief for me."
Ajax coach Craig Rosslee said they took the game very easy in the first half and only picked up in the second half.
"Our defence was careless, and sometimes ball watching that is why they scored in the opening minutes. Although we were two men down, we played well until the end."
It was a game of two halves and more, the first belonged to The Birds with captain Lefa Tsutsulupa calling the shots.
With his team unable to find the net, Tsutsulupa took advantage of Ajax's defensive indecisiveness in the ninth minute and scored.
Swallows dominated proceedings in this half and increased the margin through Sandile Ndlovu after an exquisite pass from Tsutsulupa on 41 minutes.
The Urban Warriors came back strongly in the second half, led by Mabhuti Khenyeza.
Brett Evans, who was not marked, slotted home in the 46th minute from a Sameegh Doutie corner kick, to bring theincrease their lead.
From that moment it was Ajax all the way, and Khenyeza was unlucky when his bicycle kick hit the crossbar with Greg Etafia beaten in the 50th minute.
With Doutie, Evans, Franklin Cale and Khenyeza launching attack after attack, Ajax equalised through Eduardo Ferreira on the stroke of full time.
Swallows were the first to score on 101 minutes in extra time through Morgan Shivhambu. Substitute Ryan Botha increased the tally 13 minutes later while Khenyeza pulled one back in the 121st minute.