Swallows stun Sundowns

MOROKA Swallows dumped Mamelodi Sundowns out of the Telkom Knockout at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday evening, claiming a stunning 3-0 win in their last 16 match thanks to goals from Lefa Tsutsulupa, former Brazilians player Lerato Chabangu, and Siyabonga Nomvethe.

The Tshwane team dominated the encounter in terms of possession and the number of scoring chances they created, but a failure to capitalise on their opportunities allowed the Birds to keep up their excellent cup record against ‘Downs: they have now not lost any of their last 10 cup ties against the team from Mamelodi, heading back as far as 1989.

Sundowns created the better chances in the first half and should have taken the lead as early as the 15th minute. Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia spilled a low shot from Mabhuti Khenyeza and Katlego Mphela ran onto the rebound, but to Etafia’s credit he got straight up to close down the Bafana Bafana striker and make up for his fumble.

Etafia was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers, and on 31 minutes he had to make a fingertip save from a dipping long range drive by Hlompho Kekana. The Brazilians enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and won a bevy of corner kicks, but the Birds’ well organised defence – as well the occasional intervention from Etafia – kept the visitors at bay.

And on 37 minutes, against the run of play, Swallows took the lead through captain Lefa Tsutsulupa. The dreadlocked midfielder controlled a great ball from James Mayinga on his chest, turned and hit a left-footed volley that squeezed under the body of Calvin Marlin before finding the back of the net.

Sundowns created the first genuine opening of the first half, with Kekana handing Mphela a clear sight of goal, but a prohibitive angle was always going to make it tough for ‘Killer’ to beat Etafia and the Nigerian goalkeeper duly smothered the striker’s low shot to keep his side in front.

On 56 minutes Sundowns came close to a bizarre equaliser – Elias Pelembe found himself one-on-one with Etafia, but again the goalkeeper made a brave block. However, he lost sight of the ball and Pelembe was able to get a second away that had to be cleared off the line by Ashraf Hendricks and an ugly scramble in the penalty ensued.

Seconds later Kekana had a glaring chance to score his first goal for ‘Downs but he somehow skewed his shot wide of the target. It really seemed to be a matter of when rather than if the visitors would bring themselves back on level terms.

Yet, on 65 minutes, the Birds extended their lead. Marlin completely missed a cross from a corner kick and former Sundowns attacker Lerato Chabangu arrived at the far post to steer home a shot that put his side 2-0 up and on course for a place in the quarterfinals.

That was confirmed on 83 minutes – substitute Oscar Machapa got a shot on target that rebounded off Marlin, hit the feet of Siyabonga Nomvethe and trickled over the goal line before a defender could make a clearance. At 3-0 up the Birds were flying into the last eight, joining Santos, Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates. The remaining quarterfinalists will be determined from further matches on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Moroka Swallows (1) 3 (Tsutsulupa 37’, Chabangu 65’, Nomvethe 83’)

Mamelodi Sundowns 0

Swallows: Etafia; Isaacs, Hendricks, Mungomeni, Mayinga, Makhanya (Machapa 74’), Nergadze, Tsutsulupa, Mathebula (Maleka 73’), Chabangu (Twala 79’), Nomvethe

Sundowns: Marlin; Letlabika, Mwanjale, Daniels (Xulu 63’), Masenamela, Modise, Kekana, Moriri (Zwane 76’), Pelembe, Mphela (Mushekwi 65’), Khenyeza-Backpagepix

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