PSL

Swallows' return to the top flight starts with a draw against Stellenbosch

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Steve Barker (Gallo Images)
Steve Barker (Gallo Images)

Stellenbosch FC were held to a 1-1 draw against Swallows FC in their opening DStv Premiership fixture on Sunday.

Ruzaigh Gamildien opened the scoring at the Danie Craven Stadium with a 16th minute penalty before Robyn Johannes ensured a share of the spoils with his successful spot kick with 27 minutes on the clock.

Jayden Adams was first in with a chance for the home side, on eight minutes, but his goalbound shot, following a good chest down to set him up from Leletu Skelem, was deflected wide of the target.

Granwald Scott was then denied a chance to get his shot away moments later as Stellenbosch looked for an early goal.

Lebohang Mokoena fired in at the other end but saw his effort from range blocked en route to goal.

Swallows were looking to slow the game down and pick their moments to attack as Stellies tried to break at pace whenever they got on the ball.

But it was the Premiership newbies who opened the scoring, from the penalty spot on 16 minutes, as Gamildien slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. Stellenbosch goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt had been guilty of upending Zaphaniah Mbokoma inside the area following a moment of confusion with defender and captain Johannes.

The home side responded with some slick passing football in search of an equaliser but it was a carbon copy of the opening goal that saw Stellenbosch level from the spot on 27 minutes.

Virgil Vries was adjudged to have fouled Skelem, leaving Johannes to send the Swallows keeper the wrong way and slot home into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Kagiso Malinga fired well wide after finding himself in space to the left of the Stellies goal with half an hour of the match played, and was again off target as the first half drew to a close.

Skelem thought he was set to score after working his way into the Swallows box but saw his shot well blocked as the opening period ended with both sides evenly matched.

Zitha Macheke almost found Skelem with a cross to the far post at the start of the second period but Vuyo Mere ere was there to sheppard the danger

Nkosingiphile Ngcobo denied Waseem Isaacs with a brave block after some good approach play on 53 minutes ahead of a double change for Stellies as Nathan Sinkala came on for Scott and Ryan Moon replaced Isaacs.

Swallows made a triple change with 30 minutes of the game to play, with Thabo Mosadi on for Mbokoma, Moeketsi Makhanya on for Gamildien and Given Thibedi replacing Malinga.

Makhanya was into the action straightaway with a shot blocked as he fired in at goal as Sinkala missed a great chance for all three points with a free header he steered off target from a well taken corner on 65 minutes.

There were more changes for Stellies as Asavela Mbekile came on for Adams and Roy-Keane Avontuur replaced Skelem

Moon came as close as anyone with a powerful shot that just curled the wrong side of the Swallows right-hand post, while Mosadi and Thabo Matlaba both fired in on goal late on as the away side looked for a late winner.

Langeveldt though made a superb reflex save to deny late Swallows substitute Sammy Seabi what could have been a winner as both sides ultimately settled for a solid point from their Premiership opener.

- TEAMtalk media

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Team
P
W
PTS
1. Swallows
5
3
11
2. Mamelodi Sundowns
4
3
10
3. Orlando Pirates
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2
8
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2
7