Two goals from Denis Lota helped Moroka Swallows advance through to the next round of the Coca-Cola Cup after they beat Bloemfontein Celtic in a five goal thriller at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Swallows were the dominant force in the first stanza, with Lungisani Ndlela and Denis Lota creating havoc in the Celtic defence.
The Dube Birds got off to the best possible start when they shocked the large home crowd by scoring in the opening 90 seconds.
The goal came via a Peter Petersen cross to Lungisani Ndlela at the far post - the lanky striker knocked it down to Zambian international Denis Lota who steered the ball home into an un-guarded net.
However, the home team were not about to lie down and accept defeat and they fought back to equalise in the 13th minute when Moses Spandeel rose well to power a header over Swallows keeper Conrad Hendricks and into the back of the net.
In the 21st minute Spandeel did well to win the ball in the Swallows box and brought out the best in Hendricks with a well struck shot from a tight angle at the near post.
In the 22nd minute the Birds were back in the lead, thanks to the brilliance of Lota when he again received a ball in the box from the head of Ndlela.
Lota's initial effort hit the cross bar and bounced back into play, before he showed great composure to bring the ball under control, beat a defender and slot the ball home with his left foot.
Then, in the 33rd minute, Swallows increased their lead when Ndlela beat Phunye Sele Sele goal keeper Vincent Ongansi to a long free kick by Innocent Chickoya and glanced the ball into the empty goal with his head.
Two minutes later Malawi international John Maduka came close to pulling one back for the Free State team, but his scorching drive from 30-yards out was well saved by a diving Hendricks.
The Birds took their 3-1 lead into the break.
The hosts came out after the break looking to get themselves back into the match, and their chance finally arived in the 59th minute when Hendricks brought down substitute Buitemelo Moleyane in the box to concede a penalty.
Siyabonga Nkosi made no mistake with the spot kick, putting his side back into the game at 3-2 down.
Celtic continued to pressure the Birds defence, with Moleyane in particular posing a threat.
Swallows manager Gavin Hunt brought on Warren Lewis in the place of Edzai Kasinaiyo in the 80th minute as he looked to beef up the defence in order to hold on to the one goal lead.
The Birds had a chance to restore their two goal advantage in the 88th minute when Lota set up Gary McNab, but the latter was unable to keep hus curling shot on target.
In the end this did not matter as Swallows held onto their lead and in the process moved through to the next round of the Coca-Cola Cup.