'Birds' fly past Ajax
Moroka Swallows ran away 2-0 winners in a well-engineered victory against Castle Premiership log leaders Ajax Cape Town at Germiston stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The match started off at a blistering pace with both sides having chances to score in the opening minutes.
Ajax were forced to make a change as early as the seventh minute when 'Urban Warriors' coach Muhsin Ertugral brought on Mfundo Shumana for the injured Enoh Eyong, who looked like he twisted his ankle.
Ajax defender Brett Evans had a chance to put his side in the lead in the 14th minute, but his shot flew over the bar. The Capetonians looked dangerous on the few offensive raids they launched.
Swallows were impressive in their forward forays, with Lefa Tsutsulupa orchestrating the moves as the 'Dube Birds' swamped the visitor?s territory in search of a goal.
Mesmeric runs by nifty 'Urban Warriors' midfielder Granwald Scott on the right caused the Swallows defence considerable concern.
It was no surprise that Scott engineered Ajax's next goal-scoring opportunity, when he zoomed past the defence and passed to the lanky Nathan Paulse, who supplied a low cross that striker Thembinkosi Fanteni shot straight at the diving Greg Etafia's feet.
Ajax?s defence, consisting of Nazeer Allie, Dominic Isaacs, Brett Evans and Clayton Jaggers, stood firm while their keeper Hans Vonk could only watch proceedings as the hosts were buzzing around in a vaguely threatening manner.
The first half ended goal-less and the Ajax faithful were getting anxious at the prospect of not collecting three points against the 'Birds'.
The hosts came out smoking in the second half, possibly after a tongue-lashing from coach Gavin Hunt. It was clear that the Capetonians came up to Johannesburg with a mission to win and did not allow Swallows to dictate terms.
The 'Birds' finally went past Vonk when striker Songwe Chalwe found ample space on the right flank and sped past the Ajax defence before unleashing a shot that hit the post, with the ball presenting itself for strike-partner Henrico Botes to head home in the 55th minute.
Both coaches made changes after the 60-minute mark. Ertugal pulled off Scott and Clifford Ngobeni for Bryce Moon and Daylon Claasen while Swallows coach Hunt brought on Thulani Ngcepe.
Ngcepe's introduction seemed like the tonic Swallows needed in their ambition to win. Hardly 10 minutes on the pitch, the Swallows youngster delivered a brilliant cross for Chalwe, who beat Vonk with an equally brilliant header to increase the 'Birds' lead to 2-0.
Both teams were solid in defence and looked organised on attack but it was Swallows who came out on top. However, Ajax will certainly take stock from a brave performance away.
Teams: Moroka Swallows: Greg Etafia, Bevan Fransman, Lovers Mohlala, Patrick Mabedi, Goodman Mazibuko, Bjorn Gugger, Japhet Zwane, Hendrico Botes, Lefa Tsutsulupa, Cecil Oerson, Songwe Chalwe, Rudy Isaacs.
Subtitutes: Patrick Twala, Ashley Opperman, Thulani Ngcepe, Jabulani Mendu, Aubrey Mathibe, Mark Haskins, Evans Gwekerere
Coach: Gavin Hunt
Ajax Cape Town: Hans Vonk, Nazeer Allie, Dominic Isaacs, Bret Evans, Clayton Jagers, Nathan Pauls, Thembikosi Fanteni, Clifford Ngobeni, Franklin Cale, Granwald Scott, Enoh Eyong.
Substitutes: Bryce Moon, Tshinyama Tsholola, Mfundo Shumana, Daylon Claasen, Andre Petim, Roberto Santo.
Coach: Mushin Ertugal.
Swallows - Lovers Mohlala 44
Ajax Cape Town - Clifford Ngobeni 30, Clayton Jaggers 80
Match Report by Walter Mabeba