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SA SOCCER NEWS
Birds Flying High 12/10/03
Moroka Swallows have moved up into joint second place with Kaizer Chiefs on the PSL log by beating Silver Stars in a tough encounter played in Polekwane on Sunday.

Swallows got off to a good start by spending the opening couple of minutes in the Stars half of the field. The first chance fell to Sibongakonke Ndlovu, who received the ball via a flick-on from a long throw in and did well to shoot on the turn, but his effort was well covered by Stars keeper Johannes Diale.

The home side then managed to settle down and created a chance of their own when Surprise Moriri was put through on goal, but his shot lacked enough power to trouble Swallows keeper Greg Etafia.

At the other end of the field Bird's winger Lucas Sebona twice came close with scoring with his head - his first effort from open play was cleared off the line and then he came close again from the resultant corner in the 12th minute.

Moriri was proving to be the main threat for the home team, and came close with a long range shot in the 17th minute.

The Birds were lucky not to concede a goal in the 25th minute when some neat build-up work by Stars saw Dingaan Masanabo break through the defence and go around Etafia. He was not, however, able to apply the finishing touch as he had taken the ball to wide and the Swallows defenders were able to recover in time.

The game was switching from end to end at this stage, and in the 27th minute the home keeper was again called into action to save a Gary McNab free-kick.

Stars had a great chance in the 40th minute when Jabulani Nkosi refused to give up a lost cause and did well to stop the ball from going for a goal-kick. He did well to pull the ball back for Masanabo, who was unable to steer his shot into the back of the net.

That proved to be the last major chance of what was a fairly even first half with both teams enjoying good opportunities to take the lead.

Lungisani Ndlela, who had been a constant threat with his height advantage, came deperately close for opening the scoring for Swallows when he rose well to meet a Sebona corner, but saw his header rebound off the cross-bar.

The home side then enjoyed a lengthy period of possession midway through the second half, but were unable to find any penertration in the final third of the field.

Nkosi was guilty of missing a great chance in the 67th minute when a free-kick from the left fell right onto the diminutive midfielder's head, but he was unable to control the header.

Stars were forced to play out the final 20 minutes with only 10 men after Oscar Ntwagae was sent off for a second bookable offence.

But the home team continued to create chances, and Morris Chauke was guilty of firing horribly over the bar with only Etafia to beat from about 12-yards out.

In the 75th minute Swallows substitute Shaun Permall nearly gave his side the lead, but saw his powerful header palmed onto the cross-bar by Diale. Lucas Sebona then took the corner and curled the ball into the Stars six-yard box, leaving Alois Ngwerume with the relatively easy task of heading home.

Swallows managed to succesfully run down the clock in the final minutes of the game by holding the ball in the corners, making sure of their victory and sending them up to joint second on the Castle Premiership league standings.

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