Swallows FC beat Black Leopards for first win in nine games
CAPE TOWN – Swallows FC snapped a winless nine-match streak in the DStv Premiership competition with a 1-0 victory over basement dwellers Black Leopards at the Dobsonville Stadium, in Soweto, on Sunday evening.
The winless nine-match streak included eight draws and one defeat – their only one for the season. This win will allow Swallows to move up two places on the log, from sixth to fourth place. Relegation-threatened Leopards will remain rock bottom on the standings.
At the start, both teams tried to make a statement of their attacking intent via the lively early sorties into the penalty areas. However, no scoring opportunities emerged, and defences easily dealt with the early incursions.
In the opening 20 minutes, Leopards hardly looked a side holding up the Premiership table and looked comfortable on the ball. They won the midfield battles and managed to thwart several Swallows attacks down the middle of the park.
With their midfield supremacy, Leopards' attacking thrust was mainly down the central channels, but often they failed to find their front-runners. Occasionally, Leopards' attacks down the flanks proved penetrative as their defenders did well in their overlapping roles.
After 20 minutes, Leopards had five shots at goal, but only one was on target.
Swallows with 57% possession were somewhat subdued on attacks, and around the 30th minute, they grabbed the initiative. Their pressure earned them two corners in quick succession, but nothing came of the set-pieces which the Leopards defence cleared with ease.
By the time referee Xola Sitela blew the whistle for halftime, both sets of defences were intact, and the first half ended goalless.
After the break, Swallows were a changed side. In the first 15 minutes of second-half play, Swallows took the game by the scruff of the neck and bombarded Leopards' defence. At least four scoring chances surfaced, and Leopards' goalmouth custodian Jonas Mendes bravely warded off the attacks.
He was brilliant with one effort when he headed the ball away safely to thwart a shot from point-blank range, at a time when there was no time to use his arms.
But Swallows finally broke the stalemate when their Ghanaian striker Daniel Gozar scored from the spot in the 61st minute. Leopards were blown up for a foul on striker Kgaogelo Sekgota. Two defenders sandwiched him as he weaved his way into the penalty area.
Swallows' dominance continued for the ensuing 15 minutes play and they came close to doubling their lead.
By this time, Leopards were unable to find their way back in the game and were forced to settle for an out-and-out defensive role.
For Swallows, it was a return to winning ways and an early birthday present for their coach Brandon Truter who turns 44 on Monday.