Johannesburg – Lerato Chabangu, who scored the winning goal for Moroka Swallows for the third time this season, showered praise on his teammates in Dobsonville on Tuesday.
“It's all about teamwork. We knew that it was going to be important for us to get three points,” Chabangu said after scoring a brace in Swallows' 3-2 victory over Polokwane City in their midweek fixture.
Scoring match-winning goals against Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu in recent weeks, and opening the scoring against Polokwane, it was his 82nd minute strike which completed his hat-trick.
Having crashed to a 2-0 defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns last week, the midfield linchpin said the team's match-day performances were a reflection of the work they had put in during practice.
“We have been working hard at training, trying out different styles of play,” he said.
“We have been able to create some scoring chances and we wanted to bounce back from the previous result.”
In response to Chabangu's opening goal in the 27th minute, City launched a resurgent comeback which resulted in an equaliser by their captain Thapelo Tshilo. The visitors were in control two minutes later after Puleng Tlolane gave them the lead.
However, the resilient Dube Birds levelled the scores before the halftime whistle when Swallows' attacking ace Vuyisile Wana scored from a shot inside the penalty box.
Swallows coach Zeca Marques applauded the opposition for keeping his team on their toes despite playing on their home turf.
“Polokwane put up a good fight. They played well and it's what I expected at the start of the match,” Marques said.
“They play quality football but I think the score gives us a perfect reflection of the match. It was end-to-end stuff.”
He said the equalising goal, scored by Wana a minute before halftime, gave his players great motivation heading into the second stanza.
“I have to give credit to my players for fighting back. They never gave up,” Marques said.
“I told them at the break to show some character. Once a team goes behind 2-1 at home, under normal circumstances, the players would panic.”
Swallows had not yet reached their full potential, he said, and the supporters could expect more to come with the club looking to rope in a few new signings.
“We are scoring goals and trying to get the right combination in defence – as we're looking to improve some areas in our game defensively.
“We are looking at adding one or two players next week and we hope we can get stronger.”
City coach Boebie Solomons lambasted his team's lack of character in crucial moments after losing their third match in a row.
“We are letting in silly goals and we need to learn how to close a game,” Solomons said.
“We are not getting the results. It's criminal to concede in such late stages of each half.”
He said City would look to ride out the wave of negative results and approach the future with a positive mindset.
“We had some great chances to go ahead in the second half, and then suddenly we got hit with a sucker punch. Luck is not going our way.” – Sapa