Johannesburg - Marumo Gallants and Swallows FC played out a 1-1 draw in their DStv Premiership clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday afternoon.
The result – secured by goals from Ruzaigh Gamildien and Katlego Otladisa – sees Bahlabane ba Ntwa remain in 11th place on 30 points, while the Birds remain in the relegation playoff berth (15th place) with 20 points.
Swallows got off to the perfect start and claimed the lead in just the second minute. Monnapule Saleng played an assist for Ruzaigh Gamildien to strike beyond Gallants goalkeeper King Ndlovu and ripple the back of the net.
Gallants, after the initial shock of going behind so early, settled into the game and began to bring Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, Katlego Otladisa and Lerato Lamola to the fore, dominating possession and creating several promising chances.
Bahlabane ba Ntwa were rewarded on 20 minutes when Otladisa turned Lamola’s pass beyond goalkeeper Thela Thela to make it 1-1.
The teams settled into more conservative approaches after the early goals, though the hosts enjoyed more of the ball and looked the more creative outlet.
The Birds had a couple of long-range tries through Kamohelo Mahlatsi and Kagiso Malinga, but they were not a threat.
Gallants suffered a defensive injury blow when Mpho Mvelase was subbed out late in the first half, with Thato Khiba rising off the bench to replace him. The interval saw the sides locked at 1-1.
The hosts made another two changes at the start of the second half, with Sibusiso Kumalo and Letsie Koapeng introduced to freshen up in midfield and attack, while the visitors from Soweto were forced into changing goalkeepers five minutes after the restart, with Jody February replacing Thela.
Gallants had the next big chance of the game, just before the hour mark, as star man Ndlondlo had a sight of goal but sent his effort just wide of the mark – a warning to the visitors’ defence.
Yet Swallows were able to reassert control in their half of the field and rebuffed any further attempts from the hosts to find the back of the net, leaving the teams to settle for a share of the spoils.
Gallants will be back in DStv Premiership action on April 23 with a match at home to SuperSport United, while Swallows’ next league match is at home to Baroka FC the following day.