Abia Nale scored the game’s only goal early on, sending Amakhosi up to third on the table, while the Birds remain rooted to the bottom after picking up just one point from their first five matches.
Chiefs got off to a flying start and took the lead in just the second minute of the match. Mthokozisi Yende lifted a clever ball over the top of the Swallows defence, allowing Abia Nale to run through on goal. The attacker’s initial effort was saved by Greg Etafia but the rebound hit him and ran into the open goal, handing Chiefs an early advantage.
And the Amakhosi should have twice extended their lead within the first 20 minutes, with both Kaizer Motaung Jr and Nale seeing close range efforts blocked by some desperate Birds defending.
Swallows gradually began to get a foothold in the game and toward the end of the first half they created a few opportunities from which they should have at least drawn level.
Oscar Machapa set up a chance for Mfundo Shumana but the midfielder stabbed his shot over the bar when he should have at least tested the goalkeeper, while Auguston Leonard twice used his pace to get away from Dominic Isaacs but was unable to beat Itumeleng Khune.
Chiefs started the second half on the front foot and very nearly scored a second in the opening minutes, with Reneilwe Letsholonyane denied only by the width of the post after a searing half-volley.
The Amakhosi should have killed off the game in the 79th minute when Nale skipped past a defender before finding himself one-on-one with Etafia, but the Swallows ‘keeper made an excellent smothering stop to keep his side in the game.
Etafia’s heroics proved to be in vain, but they shouldn’t have been. Swallows substitute S’celo Zuma was presented with a wonderful scoring chance in the 87th minute after meeting Leonard’s right-wing cross but he only succeeded in directing his shot wide of the near post.