Swallows flip Bucs the birdComment on this story
Moroka Swallows (1) 3 Mashego 45, Tsutsulupa 60, Chabangu 67
Orlando Pirates (2) 2 Myeni 1, Jali 37-pen
Dobsonville Stadium - Moroka Swallows completed a rare double over Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night, impressively overturning a two-goal deficit to win and pile more misery on the Buccaneers.
It was the second time this season that Swallows had scored three times against their oldest rivals, and the last time, back it September, it led to a managerial change at Pirates, with Roger de Sa replacing Augusto Palacios as head coach.
After this, De Sa now finds himself under intense pressure for the first time, his men having wasted an opportunity to leapfrog Kaizer Chiefs at the top of the Absa Premiership standings.
A win over the Birds here would have seen Bucs lead the table with a single point, going some way in soothing the wounds opened up by that embarrassing cup defeat to Second Division side Maluti College at the weekend.
And everything looked on track in cool Soweto conditions here, with Pirates shooting into a two-goal lead through Sifiso Myeni and an Andile Jali penalty.
But Swallows hauled themselves back into the game on the stroke of half-time via a Katlego Mashego goal, while Lefa Tsutsulupa and Lerato Chabangu netted in the second half to confirm a victory that moved Swallows out of the relegation zone.
Statistics still depict Pirates as the best defensive side in the country, with just 12 goals conceded, but that they have let in seven in two games will be cause for concern for De Sa.
To his defence, he was again without Siyabonga Sangweni on Tuesday night and his replacement, Ayanda Gcaba, has really struggled at the heart of defence.
Not even the return of Lucky Lekgwathi, Daine Klate and Jali could galvanise Pirates to rise above the mediocrity seen at the weekend.
Briefly though, they had their fans jumping joyously, after taking the lead 57 seconds into the match.
Bucs made the most of a mistake by Swallows defender Larry Cohen, who ironically had in the build-up to this fixture been singled out by coach Zeca Marques as a dependable defender.
Not on Tuesday night, though, as Cohen misjudged a high ball and let it bounce over his head. It found Takesure Chinyama in a great position, and the Pirates striker set up Myeni, who finished easily past Greg Etafia.
Etafia, Swallows’ Nigerian goalkeeper, was honoured at the beginning of the game for making his 300th appearance for the club, but it seemed he would have a torrid evening as his club went two down on 37 minutes.
It was through a penalty, referee Phillip Tinyani ruling that Roger Da Costa had deliberately handballed in the area, and Jali stepped up to send Etafia the wrong way.
At 2-0, Pirates were in cruise mode, but the defensive frailties that sunk them at Charles Mopeli Stadium last Saturday recurred here.
Swallows’ opener, though, was a well-crafted goal that saw Chabangu release Dikgang Mabalane with a splendid ball, and the former Bucs winger to teed up an unmarked Mashego in the Pirates box, the striker coolly beating Senzo Meyiwa.
Marques will have told his players during the half-time break that the match could still be salvaged, but Swallows did more than that during a second half they wholly dominated.
Tsutsulupa brought them level with a diving header, after a Mabalane scorcher from long range had bounced off the upright.
Then Chabangu flicked in the winner a few minutes later following a dipping Mashego cross from a free-kick.
De Sa responded by throwing in Collins Mbesuma and Tlou Segolela, but neither made an impression as the Birds held on to a win that saw them collect six points in a season from Pirates for the first time in many moons.
In the other game on Tuesday night SuperSport United grabbed the points against the University of Pretoria through a late Mogogi Gabonamong goal.