Chiefs pull one over Swallows

Jimmy Tau scored just the third goal of his career – and surely the most important – to secure a 1-0 victory for Chiefs over Swallows in the 'other' Soweto Derby.

The victory sees Amakhosi move into second place on the Premiership standings and cut Orlando Pirates’ lead at the top of the log to just two points.

There was little to report in the first half, as both teams looked to play an attacking game but simply did not show enough quality to produce a goal.

The hosts dominated through the middle of the park, with wide men Siphiwe Tshabalala and Mthokozisi Yende playing narrow and offering ready support to Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Tinashe Nengomasha.

Yet strikers Sthembiso Ngocob and Kaizer Motaung Jnr were not given good service and the pace and invention of the absent Knowledge Musona (suspended) was sorely missed.

Swallows, for their part, had good width through Koketso Mmotong and makeshift left-wing Keegan Ritchie, but their crossing left a lot to be desired.

Even their set-pieces – and the Birds had plenty of corner-kicks in the first half – merely handed Itumeleng Khune some straightforward catching practice.

The second half saw an improvement, particularly from the away team, but they failed to capitalise on their chances and were duly punished.

Swallows should have opened the scoring in the 50th minute. Mmotong whipped in a good cross from the right, Bongouta Cisse’s attempt to get on the end of it was stymied by Dominic Isaacs, but the loose ball rolled kindly for Siyabonga Nomvete.

However, ‘Bhele’ thundered his close-range effort off the crossbar.

Chiefs then had a good chance via Ngcobo on the hour mark, with the striker running onto a good diagonal ball from Tshabalala, but he was unable to direct his header on target with only Greg Etafia to beat.

On 68 minutes Khune was called upon to make his first save, palming away a stinging effort from Nomvete after the speedy striker had cut inside the challenge from Isaacs.

Swallows seemed to be building a head of steam but in the 70th minute they were stunned by Jimmy Tau.

Yende played in a dangerous low ball from the right of the area, Ramahlwe Mphahlele failed to clear the danger and Tau pounced from close range to head the ball home.

The Birds almost came up with a reply just four minutes later when Giorgi Nergadze powered a header on target from a corner, but Khune acrobatically tipped the ball over his crossbar.

In the 84th minute Swallows threatened through a free-kick from substitute Gareth Ncaca that left Khune flat-footed for sheer power, but the ball flashed just over the angle of bar and post for the final real chance of the match.