SuperSport scrape a point
Posted: 14 December 2008 Time: 17:51
SuperSport United got a late goal to scrape a point against Moroka Swallows and stay top of the Absa Premiership log at the Germiston Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Swallows defender James Mayinga poached a goal in the 29th minute but United came back strongly and Katlego Mashego netted in the 84th minute to earn a point for the reigning League champions.
Although Swallows started the game off the more lively side, they quickly faded and SuperSport's Shane Poggenpoel and Letladi Madubanya dictated terms in midfield. Swallows skipper and playmaker Lefa Tsutsulupa made unusual errors while Morgan Shivambu struggled to stamp his authority on the game.
United's Ethiopian striker Fikru Teferra got stuck in to the hosts’ backline and sped through on goal after 10 minutes but was quickly stopped by the ever-alert Nigerian shot-stopper Greg Etafia.
Teferra combined well with wingers Elais Pelembe and rookie player Masibuse Zongo who troubled Fabian McCarthy's backline with their speed. Nevertheless, the former Kaizer Chiefs stalwart kept his cool under the relentless pressure.
Etafia stopped a goal-bound header from Rudi Isaacs who latched on to a free-kick from Zongo. Tsutsulupa and Mark Haskins started showing more confidence as the game progressed but United still pinned them back.
Nevertheless, the Dube Birds went forward in numbers for a corner-kick on the half-hour mark. Swallows hitman Siphesihle Ngobese struck powerfully from outside the box and Denis Onyango blocked the shot which fell kindly to Mayinga, who had the simple task of tapping in to the delight of their fans.
SuperSport looked for a quick riposte and a 25-yard scorcher from Poggenpoel went inches wide of goal. McCarthy blatantly pushed Pelembe in the box but referee Charl Theron waved play on to the visitors’ dismay.
Pelembe again beat the sluggish Swallows backline and crossed for Teferra but Etafia was alert to make a point-blank save.
Haskins made a mesmerising run from his half but was harshly upended by three United players outside the big box. Brazilian import Elton Morelato hopelessly skied the resultant free-kick but Swallows went in the break looking more pleased than the defending League champs.
United's speedy winger Zongo took the game to Swallows but McCarthy's ability to read their play and Etafia's vigilance stopped them from scoring.
South African under-23 player Goerge Maluleke replaced Teferra, and seconds after coming on almost netted but was flagged offside.
United's tempo was too much for the Birds who relied on the counter-attack and almost doubled the lead when Oerson found himself in a one-on-one with the keeper who denied him.
Zongo showed he not only has pace and dribbling skills when he picked out Poggenpoel with a raking 40 yard pass, but the midfielder's shot went agonisingly wide with Etafia clearly beaten.
Haskins almost scored the goal of the season when he spotted Onyango off his line and shot from the halfway line, but the keeper hastily backtracked and made a close save.
With less than five minutes on the clock Mashego struck. The Swallows defence were left for dead as he sped towards goal, picked his spot and put it beyond the reach of Etafia and earned a deserved point for Matsatsantsa.