Moroka Swallows returned to winning form in the Absa Premiership as they defeated Polokwane City 3-2 at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday night.
Lerato Chabangu netted the decisive goal with just eight minutes to play, securing victory for the Birds in an exciting match in which the lead changed hands three times and enough opportunities were created to bring up a rugby score.
In an open and exciting match, both teams created numerous chances to open the scoring but were unable to really test goalkeepers Greg Etafia and Dino Visser in the first quarter of the game.
Swallows finally found some incisiveness in attack in the 27th minute, as Lerato Chabangu found the back of the net with a glancing header from Siyabonga Nomvethe’s left wing cross to put the hosts 1-0 up.
However, their lead lasted just four minutes before Thapelo Tshilo steered home a header from a corner kick to bring Polokwane level at 1-1 just past the half hour mark. The Birds were guilty of some dire defending from the set piece.
And things got even better for the Limpopo side two minutes later, as Puleng Tlolane headed home from Cole Alexander’s cross to put them 2-1 ahead, taking advantage of some more slack defensive work from the home side.
Yet, with the teams creating chances at will, it was only a matter of time until another goal arrived. On the stroke of halftime, Vuyisile Wana found the bottom corner of the net with a shot from just inside the box to send the game to the interval at 2-2.
Polokwane almost reclaimed the lead just before the hour mark, as Tlolane drew Etafia off his line and teed up Jabu Maluleke, but the midfielder’s effort hit the outside of the post when he had a virtually unguarded goal to aim at.
On 67 minutes Rise and Shine struck the same post. This time Linda Shiba controlled an awkward pass just outside the box and beat Etafia with a low shot, only for the ball to rebound away to safety off the woodwork.
Swallows almost netted a third goal with 10 minutes of regulation time to play, as substitute Lucky Baloyi fired a shot on target, but Visser made an excellent left-handed save at his near post.
But in the 82nd minute the Soweto side moved into a 3-2 lead, taking advantage of a slice of luck. Dikgang Mabalane’s long range shot struck defender Vukile Mngqibisa and fell perfectly into the path of Lerato Chabangu, who finished easily to put the Birds back into the lead. The dreadlocked player’s third goal of the season proved to be the winner.
Moroka Swallows (2) 3 (Chabangu 27’, Wana 45’, Chabangu 82’)
Polokwane City (2) 2 (Tshilo 31’, Tlolane 33’)
Moroka Swallows: Etafia, Isaacs, Mungomeni, Savic (Hendricks 90+1’), Mahoa, Mabalane, Sibande, Mandic (Giuricich 80’), Chabangu, Wana (Baloyi 71’), Nomvethe
Polokwane City: Visser, Mbhele, Mhlongo, Tshilo, Musonda, Mngqibisa, Maluleke (Langa 72’), Alexander (Majafa 86’), Shiba (Mncwango 85’), Kanyenda, Tlolane