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SA SOCCER NEWS
Mighty Birds knock out Bucs 18/04/04
A goal from former Buccaneers striker Dennis 'Chesa Mpama' Lota put a 10-man Moroka Swallows on the road to victory against Orlando Pirates as the Birds moved into the last four of the Absa Cup at the Johannesburg Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Pirates enjoyed more of the game but were just not able to take their chances, while on the other hand Swallows sunk two of the few opportunities that came their way.

The first half did not produce much in the way of goalmouth action, with Pirates being limited to only four half chances, while only one opportunity fell the way of the Dube Birds, which Lota converted into the only goal of the first half in the 26th minute.

Much of the first half was spent with the teams battling it out in midfield. Both sides looked well disciplined, keeping their shape and ensuring that their opponents had no time on the ball.

Swallows skipper Goodman Mazibuko did well in this respect, making sure that the dangerous Benedict Vilakazi had a relatively quiet first 45 minutes.

The goal came following a long throw in and a flick onto into the box by lanky striker Lungisani Ndlela. The Bucs defenders were not able to clear the ball and 'Chesa Mpama' was quick to take the opportunity to score against his former club, pouncing on the loose ball and stabbing it into the left hand corner of goal keeper Thabang Radebe's goal.

10 minutes later an accurate ball from the right flank by Jimmy Kauleza nearly saw Joseph Makhanya through on goal, but Birds keeper Greg Etafia did well to move off his line quickly and snuff out the danger.

Amabhakabhaka coach Augusto Palacious wasted no time in making any changes to his team, bringing potential match-winner Steve Lekoelea into the fray for the second half.

In the 53rd minute it was indeed Lekoelea who caused trouble to the Swallows defence with a direct run, although he was just not able to finish off the move he started, instead earning a corner.

Two minutes later Vilakazi wasted a great chance to equalise when Kauleza picked him out inside the box, but he lacked the composure to finish from close range, completely miscuing an attempted volley.

In the 60th minute the visitors were reduced to 10 men when central defender Raymond Seneo received his second yellow

With fifteen minutes to go the Sea Robbers nearly got on the score sheet when Samuel Ngobeni almost succeeded in turning a cross from substitute Lebohang Mokoena into his own net, however the ball just cleared the crossbar.

Almost immediately after this another Bucs substitute, Gift Leremi, missed a  golden chance to score when he brought down the ball inside the box with a good first touch but then fired wide from eight yards out with only Etafia to beat.

As the game went into the final minutes it was the team with the superior number advantage who continued to press as Gavin Hunt's 10 men held on bravely, with Gary McNab having a solid display in the heart of a re-shuffled Birds defence.

They defended in numbers before winning back possession and then attempting to frustrate Pirates by taking the ball to the corner flag in order to run down the remaining minutes.

This tactic worked and as the Bucs threw even more players forward to try and save the match, Swallows guaranteed their place in the last four when a breakaway lead to Pitso Lekone playing a one-two with Alois Ngwerume, before unselfishly returning the ball to the Zimbabwean to strike home from close range inside injury time.

Swallows stay on track to pick up some silverware this season, while Pirates will have to win the African Champion's league if they are to come away with any glory this season.

 

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