'Birds' wings clipped in Absa Cup
Moroka Swallows bowed out of the Absa Cup when they lost 0-2 to Orlando Pirates at Olen Park on Saturday evening.
After an intense start, Pirates threatened the 'Birds' in the 14th minute, when Benedict Vilakazi passed to Mulondo Sikhwivhilu but Greg Etafia stood firm in the Swallows goals.
With the towering presence of Mame Niang, the 'Beautiful Birds' looked more penetrative in the first half hour as they forced several dangerous situations that had 'Buccaneers' goalkeeper Francis Chansa reading his defence the riot act.
A genuine goal-scoring chance was created by Swallows in the 25th minute, when Japhet Zwane stabbed his shot wide of goal after the Pirates defence had failed to adequately deal with a cross from Cecil Oersen.
The 'Birds' were again unlucky not to go ahead a minute later, when Niang's shot rebounded off the cross-bar with the goalkeeper well-beaten.
Swallows goalkeeper Etafia was soon forced into two stunning saves, denying Pirates striker Mulondo Sikhwivhilu on both occasions.
But Pirates found a way past him in the 35th minute, from Jabu Mahlangu corner-kick, defender Lucky Lekgwathi headed Pirates ahead 1-0.
Niang could have drawn the 'Birds' level on the stroke of half-time, after Zwane provided a peach of a cross for the unmarked Niang, but the 'Birds' striker somehow put his header over the cross-bar and the 'Birds' went into the half-time break a goal behind.
While the 'Birds' looked for a goal Pirates doubled the lead much against the run of play, when Mahlangu's shot unluckily deflected off Patrick Mabedi's foot to beat the diving Etafia.
Niang had a great chance to pull a goal back two minutes later when the lanky striker was again left unmarked on the far post, and was picked out by Zwane, only to put his diving header wide of the goal.
The 'Birds' coach Gavin brought on strikers Evans Gwekwerere and Sibusiso Dlamini to support Niang, Chalwe up-front but Pirates who were by this stage on the defensive held on and won the 2-0.