Moroka Swallows began their attempt to save their Absa Premiership status with a 2-0 win over Black Leopards at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Wednesday night.
The Birds won their first PSL promotion playoff match thanks to a brace from Vuyisile Wana, who scored in the 32nd and 81st minutes of the match. Both goals came against the run of play, but the Soweto side’s superior efficiency and resolute defending made them worthy victors.
Neither side was able to establish dominance in the opening phase of the game, but Leopards gradually began to look the more threatening team. In the 27th minute a great chip over the defence from Siphelele Ntshangase saw Thomas Madimba set up Maboke Matlakala with a chance, but the striker put his shot wide of the target.
Three minutes later the pace of Ntshangase saw him burst through the Swallows defence and let fly with a fierce shot from the edge of the box, but Birds goalkeeper Sage Stephens was able to parry the ball away to safety.
However, against the run of play, Swallows opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Felix Obada played a low cross from the right that the Leopards simply allowed to pass through the danger area, Vuysile Wana then arrived late at the back post to score with a simple finish.
Lidoda Duvha looked to up their game in the second half and just past the hour mark Ntshangase showed his potency again with a long-range shot that flashed just over the target and certainly had Stephens worried.
Ten minutes later Matlakala fired off a shot with the outside of his foot from just outside the box, again Stephens was a worried man but once more the effort was just off target.
Just as in the first half, Swallows held firm against Leopards’ waves of attack and sucker punched them with a goal. It arrived in the 81st minute when Siyabonga Nomvethe put Wana one-on-one with the goalkeeper and the attacker easily beat Avhasoni Tshinuna with a low shot.
The result took the Birds to the top of the promotion playoff table on goal difference ahead of Leopards, who beat Jomo Cosmos 2-0 last weekend. The next playoff fixture sees Ezenkosi host Swallows on Sunday afternoon.
Moroka Swallows (1) 2 (Wana 32’ 81’)
Black Leopards 0
Swallows: Stephens, Isaacs (Sibande 75’), Cohen, Hendricks, Lekgothoane, Mngomezulu, Phalane, Baloyi (Tsutsulupa 83’), Obada (Mabalane 57’), Wana, Nomvethe
Leopards: Tshinuna, King (Munganga 45’), Ndou, Nyirenda, Mabotja, Mahangwahaya, Shivambu, Abubakar, Madimba (Nange 61’), Ntshangase, Matlakala (Maphangule 72’)