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Birds Through In Coke Cup 09/10/03
Sundowns continued their poor start to the season when they crashed out of the Coca Cola Cup against Swallows at the Rand Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides started the game by packing the midfield and giving their opponents little time to settle on the ball, although it was Swallows who enjoyed the earlier exchanges.

The Dube Birds would have been unhappy not to take the lead in the first half as they dominated play in midfield, had slightly more possession, took 10 shots to Sundowns' two efforts and also had four corners opposed to the single corner earned by Downs.

They had an excellent chance to take the lead in the 18th minute when a long throw-in from Peter Petersen found its way to Albert Kometsi, who flicked the ball onto Samuel Ngobeni, who should have finished from close range but instead blasted the ball over the cross-bar.

The Birds then thought that they had got the lead in the 22nd minute when Kometsi broke through the Downs defence and helped the ball into the path of Edzai Kasinauyo, who finished emphatically, only to find that the goal had been disallowed for an earlier infringement.

Swallows continued to dominate, with Kometsi, in particular, becoming more influential as the half progressed. The former Hellenic player took a number of long range shots, while Hummel and Lucas Sebona also tried their luck, although Andre Arendse in the Sundowns goal was not too troubled by any of the efforts.

The Birds continued to take the game to the visitors in the second half and Ngobeni created half a chance for Sebona with a good cross from the left, but the latter was unable to capitalise.

Sundowns then enjoyed a few chances of their own in quick succession when the Birds defence was guilty of sloppy play at the back, but neither Paulus Masehe nor Manqoba Ngwenya were able to make use of their chances.

The home side then took the lead through a Hilton Jordaan own goal in the 65th minute. Kometsi swung in a free-kick from the left which took a deflection off a defenders head before striking Jordaan on the thigh and going into the net.

The Bird's lead, however, was short-lived as the Brazilians struck back only two minutes later through a well taken goal by Godfrey Sapula. Sapula was released into the box by fellow substitute Carlo Scott and created space for himself by turning Warren Lewis before rifling the ball past keeper Greg Etafia's outstretched right hand.

Both sides then went in search of the winner, but it was Swallows who took the lead when Godfrey Sapula gave away possession in his own half. Ngobeni swung in a hopeful cross from the left, and new signing Lungisani Ndela used his height advantage to reach the ball before Arendse and flick the ball over the on-rushing keeper and into the empty net.

Swallows attempted to play out the last couple of minutes by holding the ball near the Brazilian's corner flag, but Sundowns were to have one final chance.

Carlo Scott found himself clean through on goal, but Etafia charged off his line to block the shot. The Nigerian keeper did well to keep out the danger, but the referee judged him to have used his hands illegally and gave the Super Eagle his marching orders.

This proved to be the last major chance of the game, and Swallows held on for what on the overall balance of play was a well deserved win.

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