Chabangu scores a late winner for Swallows

Lerato Chabangu scored a cheeky goal in the 89th minute to hand Moroka Swallows a 1-0 win over the University of Pretoria in their first match of Absa Premiership season on Saturday afternoon at Dobsonville Stadium.

Both ‘keepers were called into making double saves off their line, following a dull goalless first half, before the Bafana Bafana international secured Swallows’ three points.

The new season welcomed new aspirations and expectations for each team and both sides came out eager to show that they meant business.

Siyabonga Nomvethe threatened from the off, with a shot just outside the box, but it was well handled by Washington Arubi, who caught it without hesitation.

There was a great ebb and flow to the Birds’ movement, with Lefa Tsutsulupa, Lerato Chabangu and Dikgang Mabalane combining well in the opening 15 minutes.

While, at the other end of the park, Buhle Mkhwanazi directed his header just narrowly wide of the goal – a disappointing effort for Tuks’ first attacking threat at goal.

Chabangu then tried to work a goal off a free-kick in the 24th minute, but his effort was over-hit and went out wide.

On the half hour, Mbekile showed why he is highly rated by head coach Steve Barker when he pulled off a crucial interception to steal the ball away from Thabo Mosadi’s feet. The attacking midfielder was on the edge of the box.

It was a disappointing first half in terms of goal-mouth action for both teams, leaving a lot more work to be done after the restart.

After the restart, Swallows were the first to threaten and they were left appealing for a penalty when Obadiah Tarumbwa blocked Nomvethe’s ball on the edge of the box. However, the referee waved play on.

The 55th minute saw the first change of the game take place, with the experienced Dipsy Selolwane taking the place of Tarumbwa for Tuks.

Mpho Maruping tried his luck from range a minute later, while Larry Cohen threw his body on the line to block Selolwane’s 62nd minute shot with his pelvis. A crucial interception, as the ball was going into the back of the net.

Needless tackles started to fly in and it resulted in Swallows being awarded a free-kick in a promising area. Chabangu struck it well but it dipped too late as it sailed over the bar in the 72nd minute.

Greg Etafia pulled off the save of the match, four minutes later, when he tipped Lucky Mathosi’s header onto the post, before kicking it away with his knee. It then fell to Selolwane but the Botswana player fired it straight over the bar.

Similarly, Arubi made a double save off Lefa Tsutsulupa’s header and then a near post tap-in to keep the score line goalless with just eight minutes to go.

It almost seemed destined to be a goalless draw but Chabangu popped up in the 89th minute to lob a sneaky ball over Arubi and into the back of the net, snapping up a late 1-0 win. The win means Swallows will join Kaizer Chiefs on top of the log with three points.

Moroka Swallows (0) 1 (Chabangu 89’)

University of Pretoria 0

Moroka Swallows: Etafia, Mungomeni, Isaacs, Cohen, Lekgothoane, Mbekile, Nergadze (Manqele 57’), Mabalane (Bereng 69’), Tsutsulupa (Obada 84’), Chanbangu, Nomvethe

University of Pretoria: Arubi, Kekana, Mkhwanazi, Shoyisa, Moussono-Moussono, Maruping, Matsi, Mosadi, Tarumbwa (Ngubane 81’), Oluwafemi (Selolwane 55’), Tefera (Mathosi 63’)