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PREVIEWS & REPORTS

'Birds' suffer first league defeat


Moroka Swallows suffered their first loss of the 2007/08 Castle Premiership season when they went down 0-2 to Bloemfontein Celtic at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

With both teams going into this game with unbeaten records at stake, this game was always going to be a tactical one.

It was Swallows who threatened to draw first blood in the second minute when Alton Meiring's free-kick hit the crossbar with Celtic goalkeeper Shuaib Walters well beaten.

Celtic, however, opened the scoring through Moses Dennis Spandeel two minutes later when his shot deflected off a Swallows defender and into the back of the net.

Sandile Ndlovu almost pulled one back for the 'Birds' in the 21st minute, but his shot was parried away by Walters and Meiring's follow-up shot went wide.

The game them became a ding-dong battle in the middle of the park and the score remained 1-0 in favour of Celtic at half-time.

Swallows wasted two glorious chances in the beginning of the second half - first it was Edzai Kasinauyo who shot wide from close-range, then Lefa Tsutsulupa rushed his shot and it went narrowly wide.

Substitute Ntokozo Sikhakhane almost punished Swallows soon afterwards, but 'Birds' 'keeper Greg Etafia produced a brilliant save to deny him.

Tsutsulupa tried to redeem himself in the 71st minute when he latched onto a loose ball just outside the penalty box, but his shot was saved by Walters.

There was to be drama nine minutes later when the referee decided not to play advantage and the ball ended in the back of 'Swallows' net. The referee then awarded a penalty, but Etafia did well again to deny Sikhakhane from that resultant penalty kick.

However, Sikhakhane was given another chance to redeem himself on the stroke of full-time when Celtic were awarded another penalty after Vincent Kobola was adjudged to have fouled Siphosihle Ngobese inside the box.

Sikhakhane made no mistake from the penalty spot; sending Etafia the wrong way to make it 2-0 for Celtic, leaving them as the only unbeaten team in the league.

Swallows, meanwhile, find themselves in 10th place in the Castle Premiership standings, having played five matches; winning one, drawing three and losing just once.

The teams:

Bloemfontein Celtic(4-4-2): Shuaib Walters, Tumelo Nhlapo, Didier Mbendje, Timothy Batabaire, Cyrille Mubiala, John Maduka (captain), Lebogang Mothibantwa (Ntokozo Sikhakhane 57), Siphosihle Ngobese, Petrus Mahlatsi, Patrick Malokase, Moses Spandeel (Mark Amofoah 90). 

Moroka Swallows (4-4-2): Greg Etafia, Ramahlwe Mphahlele (Evans Gwekwerere), Vincent Kobola, Hellings Mwakafungula, Bevan Fransman, George Hummel, Goodman Mazibuko (captain), Lefa Tsutsulupa, Edzai Kasinauyo (Japhet Zwane 67), Alton Meiring, Sandile Ndlovu (James Chamanga 42).

NEWS
- Sekgaile - 'I'm proud to be a 'Bird'!'
- 'Seven seconds with' Bevan Fransman
- 'Birds' open day a success
- Etafia injury-blow for Swallows
- 'Birds' stars to attend open day!
For more information please visit
www.vw.co.za

October 21
Castle Premiership:
Swallows v Leopards
KO: 8pm
Venue: Germiston Stadium

September 23
Castle Premiership:
lost 0-2 v Celtic
Venue: Seisa Ramabodu

September 16
Castle Premiership:
Drew 1-1 v Arrows
Venue: Germiston Stadium

September 2
Castle Premiership:
Drew 1-1 v Santos
Venue: Athlone Stadium

August 26
Castle Premiership:
Drew 0-0 v Sundowns
Venue: Germiston Stadium

August 18
SAA Supa 8:
Lost 1-2 v SuperSport
Venue: Olympia Stadium

August 15
Castle Premiership:
Won 1-0 v Pirates
Venue: Ellis Park Stadium

POLL
Who will be Swallows' top goal-scorer this season?

Sandile Ndlovu
 49%
Songwe Chalwe
 8%
Evans Gwekwerere
 2%
James Chamanga
 41%