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Pretoria - Moroka Swallows ended Mamelodi Sundowns' run of 10 games unbeaten when they defeated the 10-man Brazilians 1-0 in a Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Tuesday evening.
Swallows went ahead through Siyabonga Nomvethe nine minutes from the half-time interval, after Sundowns defender Method Mwanjale was handed a straight red card for bringing down David Mathebula inside the penalty area.
The hosts should have scored inside five minutes, but Liberian striker Anthony Laffor failed to trouble Swallows goalkeeper Gref Etafia, after receiving a ball from midfield that put the winger through on goal, hoofing the ball high and wide of the Nigerian goalkeeper's goal.
Having remained largely anonymous throughout the opening half-hour, the tie was turned on its head after referee Lwandile Mfiki gave Mwanjale his marching orders and watched as Nomvethe slotted home past Wayne Sandilands for his fifth league goal of the season.
Sundowns came close to levelling matters 10 minutes later through Abel Mabaso, but the defender blasted his effort into an advancing Etafia, who made a good save from close range to deny the hosts the equaliser.
The Brazilians pushed for the equaliser after the break, with chances for skipper Teko Modise in the 47th and Richard Henyekane in the 50th minutes, before Esrom Nyandoro flashed his long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar.
The match opened up on the hour mark, but despite their numerical advantage, Swallows were unable to make it count and could only test Sandilands from distance, first though Lerato Chabangu and then Mathebula, but neither hit their targets.
Downs replied with a dangerous opportunity for second half replacement Nyasha Mushekwi, but the striker volleyed his effort just right of goal 27 minutes from time, before Nyandoro drilled an effort narrowly left.
The victory lifts the Birds to 10th in the Premiership standings and in doing so, leap-frogged Sundowns, who slip down a place to 11th, after SuperSport United claimed at point against Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium, also on Tuesday. - Sapa