Swallows victory eases their relegation blues

2011-04-16 20:12

Where there is a will there is hope, and this is true of ­Moroka ­Swallows after they laboured to a 3-2 victory over Vasco Da Gama ­yesterday.

After narrowing the gap ­between themselves and 14th-placed Maritzburg United to just a point, now there is hope in the Swallows aviary that they can avoid the drop to the National First Division.

And if they display the same character and determination they showed yesterday, they might just pip United in the end as there are three more games to go.

It was, however, not smooth sailing for the Birds as they had to come from 2-0 down to score the three goals with ­veteran striker Siyabonga ­Nomvethe the main instigator as he had a hand in the two goals and converted from the spot kick as well.

Ironically, another veteran from the Vasco side, Sibusiso Zuma, was also instrumental in the Cape team’s good ­showing.

Zuma cheekily sent Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia the wrong way from the spot kick in the 29th minute to put Vasco 2-0 down after Jerome Ramatlhakwana had opened the scoring in the 13th minute.

Bougounta Cisse pulled one back for Swallows with a well-taken header in the 34th minute from a Nomvethe cross.

Swallows were so eager to continue with the game that they stormed out of the dressing room long before referee Victor Hlungwane called them.

But they had to wait until the 67th minute for the equaliser. Hlungwane penalised ­Angelo Julius for a handball in the box, then Nomvethe stepped up to beat Postnet Omony from the spot kick.

Substitute Bradley Ritson then sent the Swallows faithful into a frenzy with the clincher in the 81st minute.

» Meanwhile, Daniel ­Mothowagae reports that Jomo Cosmos midfielder ­Siyabonga Nhlapo scored not only the goal that sealed the deal for his side, but settled the score on what had been a bitter feud between his boss, Jomo Sono, and Leopards owner David Thidiela.

Nhlapo’s strike three minutes before half-time declared Cosmos as the champions of the Inland Stream with two league games to spare.

Ezenkosi went into yesterday’s game having had three points deducted from their initial haul of 41 by the PSL ­arbitration.

This after the tribunal ruled in favour of Leopards and the University of Pretoria over a case that had Cosmos themselves awarded the points for a successful protest over ­United FC last year.

Given this, yesterday’s match was bound for drama.

Referee Jerome Damon sent off two players from each side in the space of 11 minutes.

The red cards went to ­Cosmos’s Sello Matete for a second bookable offence and Edward Tshabalala for dissent.

The on-field drama was a continuation of pre-match events where there was a confrontation between Cosmos fans and Thidiela.

Despite the almost unplayable surface due to the heavy downpour prior to kick-off, the two sides made the best of the situation.

Leopards, who slipped to third after this defeat, have AmaTuks to meet for a berth in the national play-offs.

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