'Birds' fly out of Telkom KO
Moroka Swallows narrowly missed out of a spot in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout in a dramatic penalty shoot-out that ended 3-1 in favour their opponents and Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Stadium on Saturday night.
Traditionally this Soweto-derby was tightly contested encounter. Chiefs came into this match desperate for goals, after they failed to score in their last three matches.
Kaizer Motaung's enthusiasm cost Swallows a casualty when the striker collided with 'Birds' goalkeeper Greg Etafia who had to be stretched-off as a result. Aubrey Mathibe came on in his place to assume duties between the 'Birds' goals, while the versatile Goodman Mazibuko took over the captaincy.
Mathibe kept Swallows in the match with some breathtaking saves as Swallows tries to regroup.
Chiefs were relieved to go into the half-time break 1-0 ahead, but it took veteran striker Shaun Bartlett two attempts to beat the Mathibe, after the 'Birds' goal-minder saved the initial header from point-blank range.
Chiefs were eager to get a second goal in the second half but found an in-form Mathibe in no charitable mood. Meawhile, striker Alton Meiring almost caught the Chiefs defence napping, but was unlucky as the ball bounced too low for him to steer past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and Chiefs recovered.
Meiring's strike-partner Sandile 'AK-47' Ndlovu however punished Chiefs in stoppage-time, when he calmly collected the ball in the box to eventually equalise and send the match to extra-time.
Chiefs were again the first to score through Kaizer Motaung Junior in the 10th minute. Motaung again found the back of the net five minutes later but it was disallowed for what looked like an off-side or that time had run out for the first stanza of extra-time.
The 'Birds' however leveled matters again when substitute James Chamanga paced past the Chiefs defensive-line, and expertly curl the ball into the top-right corner and the winner had to be decided on penalties as the teams were tied at 2-2 at the end of the match.
Although 'Birds' 'keeper Mathibe kept Chiefs at bay by stopping Motaung and Arthur Zwane's spot-kicks, only defender Bevan Fransman scored for Swallows. Fransman's penalty was not enough to equal Cyril Nzama, David Obua and Siphiwe Tshabalala's conversions as Chiefs eventually went through 3-1.