MOROKA Swallows moved to the top of the Absa Premiership table after a 2-0 victory over a weary Platinum Stars at the Dobsonville Stadium on Friday night.
Dikwena possibly created the better chances, but it was The Birds who took theirs as veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvete netted 12 minutes from time and Lerato Chabangu added a second in injury-time.
Dikwena coach Allan Freese made a number of changes to his side, worried about fatigue after their draw with Mpumalanga Black Aces on Tuesday night.
In came Luvolwethu Mpeta, Solomon Mathe, Lindokuhle Mbatha, Sibusiso Msomi and Henrico Botes in what was a complete overhaul of the starting line-up.
Swallows made just two changes their line-up, Asavela Mbekile returning from injury and Nkosinathi Ogle given a start as well.
Stars came closest to opening the score when a brilliant one-two between Botes and Msomi set the latter free on goal but his shot was weak and easily saved by Greg Etafia.
Swallows went up the other end and almost took the lead themselves as Lerato Chabangu’s thunderbolt from long-range was narrowly wide.
Stars had a lucky escape on 20 minutes when Chabangu’s teasing ball into the box was headed against the crossbar by Nomvete and Giorgi Nergadze failed to turn the rebound home.
Stars should have had a penalty a few minutes later when Robert Ng’ambi turned Larry Cohen and the Swallows defender flashes out a boot that caught the Malawi international. Referee Robert Smith did not penalise him though.
Ng’ambi then had a free header that he steered straight at Etafia, while early in the second half Botes’ backheel from an Mduduzi Myanda cross was inches wide.
Ng’ambi then found himself one-on-one with Etafia as the best chances continued to fall to the victors, but the Nigerian goalkeeper stood firm and made the save.
Nomvete had another headed opportunity that he directed straight at Mpontshane, but just two minutes later he did give his side the lead.
Edward Manqele’s hopeful hook over the Stars defence fell kindly for Nomvete to cooly slot underneath Mpontshane.
Chabangu made sure of the points when he drove into the box and crashed a shot past Mpontshane, though the keeper did get a hand to the ball.
Next up for Swallows is an away trip to Lamontville Golden Arrows on November 6, while Stars await the date for their Telkom Knockout semifinal at Kaizer Chiefs, which is set to be played next weekend.
Moroka Swallows (0) 2 (Nomvete 78’, Chabangu 90’)
Platinum Stars 0
Swallows: Etafia, Mungomeni, Da Costa, Cohen, Mokgothu, Nergadze (Mabalane 58’), Mbekile (Isaacs 80’), Chabangu, Ogle (Obada 87’), Nomvethe, Manqele.
Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mhlongo, Mpeta, Nyanda (Tshabalala 62’), Mathe, Ng’ambi (Ngele 67’), Mbatha, Msomi (S Mthembu 81’), Botes.-Backpage TXT