Swallows miss out on top eight

Moroka Swallows and Bloemfontein Celtic played out to an entertaining 1-1 draw, but wins by both Tuks and Free State Stars meant Swallows finished in the bottom half of the Absa Premiership table.

Swallows and Tuks both ended the season on 40 points, but the University of Pretoria side edged them out of the top eight on goal difference.

The hosts should have taken the lead in the seventh minute when Dominic Isaacs hacked down Bennett Chenene on the edge of the box, but Katlego Mashego powered the free kick over the bar.

Five minutes later, Roger da Costa came to Swallows’ rescue in defence after a beautiful Limbikani Mzava cross had several Celtic players waiting in the box.

Celtic continued to raid the Swallows half and, in the 24th minute, Joel Mogorosi let fly a pile driver but Birds keeper Greg Etafia was equal to the task.

In the 30th minute, Lefa Tsutsulupa found space and sent in a brilliant cross.

Felix Obada broke the deadlock in the 34th minute to give Swallows the lead with a well-drilled shot after being set up by Mashego.

In the second half, Celtic came out a much more rejuvenated side and were determined to seek out an equaliser.

Lyle Lakay showed the Swallows defender a clean pair of heels and sent in a great cross, which Mogorosi fired past Etafia, to level the scores in the 47th minute.

Twelve minutes later, Celtic skipper Thabo Nthethe was unable to handle the speed of Obada and resorted to hacking him down, resulting in a free kick, which Tsutsulupa fluffed as he powered his effort over the bar.

Swallows coach Zeca Marques brought on Lerato Chabangu in the 68th minute and the midfielder made an immediate impact, clearing out of danger a dangerous-looking Lakay corner.

Tsutsulupa came close in the 73rd minute but, having done everything right, he lifted his head just as he was taking his shot and it flew agonisingly over the bar.

PSL leading goalscorer Mashego’s hopes of increasing his tally were ended in the 77th minute when Marques pulled him out for David Mathebula.

The striker, however, remained the leading goal scorer of the season with 13 goals, earning himself the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot.

Celtic ended their season fifth on the log with 42 points, having won 11 games, drawn nine and lost 10 games.

Swallows would be disappointed with their seventh draw after also winning 11 games, but losing 12 matches in the season.

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