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Olympia Park
15/02/2009 15:30

Birds edge out Bucs

Posted: 15 February 2009 Time: 17:38

Moroka Swallows cast doubts about the status of Soweto’s big two clubs after completing the double with a 2-1 win against Orlando Pirates at Olympia Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Birds, who beat Kaizer Chiefs by a similar scoreline last weekend, had goals either side of the break from Kagisho Denge and Sandile Ndlovu to thank for the crucial three points, though Pirates will feel the deserved more than just their solitary goal from Siphelele Mthembu.

Swallows started the better of the two sides, with Mark Haskins particularly influential. After firing a free-kick narrowly over, the speedy winger went on a mazy run, but his resultant shot from the edge of the area flashed inches wide.

Thereafter it was all Pirates, with Dikgang Mabalane having his shot blocked, before Chiloane had his volley from the edge of the area saved. Mthembu burned Greg Etafia’s hands with a powerful shot, before Dikgang Mabalane wasted a great chance – shooting wide from inside the area after the keeper could only parry Teko Modise’s powerful shot.

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Etafia was proving to be in top form, diving full stretch to deny Chiloane his first Pirates goal. The former Ga-Rankuwa United striker then beat the offside trap, but Edward Malinga cut out the cross. From the resultant corner, Lehlohonolo Seema’s header was cleared off the line by Sibusiso Khumalo.

Then, totally against the run of play, Swallows took the lead through Kagisho Denge. From a short corner, Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s harmless-looking cross totally eluded Moeneeb Josephs, allowing Denge the easiest of tap-ins.

The home side held onto their lead until the half-time break, but Pirates emerged from the dressingroom a team possessed, throwing everything they had at The Birds.

Modise and Lucky Lekgwathi both shot straight at Etafia, while Vinicius da Silva made an excellent last-ditch tackle to deny Modise, though there was a hint of hand-ball to the job.

But then, with Bucs threatening to draw level, Swallows doubled their lead through Sandile Ndlovu on 54 minutes. The burly striker rose unchallenged to head home Shivambu’s cross, much to Ruud Krol’s disgust.

The second goal proved the tonic The Birds needed and they could have added two more to the scoreline, but Lefa Tsutsulupa dragged his effort wide and Haskins’ excellent cross was wasted.

Etafia, who had been brilliant for the first hour of the match, then blotched his copybook with a howler, spilling an easy cross to the feet of substitute Lebo Mokoena, who squared for Mthembu to fire home on the turn from six yards out.

Pirates fought hard for the winner – the increasingly effective Modise seeing his goalbound effort blocked, Mthembu having a header ruled out for offside, and Modise also firing over from distance.

Ultimately it was Swallows who emerged with the three points, leaving Pirates to rue a succession of missed chances – and the opportunity to close the gap on leaders SuperSport United.

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