A wing and a prayer: Birds scalp Chiefs

Moroka Swallows walked off the pitch after the Premier League game against Kaizer Chiefs at King’s Park in Durban on Wednesday night with nine men and looking as groggy as a boxer who had come within a whisker of being knocked out in the last round.

Yet, behind what was a misleadingly grim scenario, the broad, moon-like smiles that spread over the faces of the Birds’ after referee Ace Ncobo’s final whistle reflected the true implication of what was a memorable, if bizarre, 2-1 Swallows’ triumph.

It was a case of the pupil upstaging the master as far as the coaches were concerned, with last year’s Ajax assistant coach, Ian Gorowa, now at the helm of Swallows and his mentor at Ajax holding the reins at Chiefs.

Against an Amakhosi team who have clamped a jinx over them in the past 10 years, Swallows deservedly took control of the proceedings with two stunning goals from Sandile Ndlovu and Bevan Fransman within the space of eight minutes shortly after half-time on the way for what was a first PSL success over Chiefs in three years.

But with the Birds seemingly cruising to a comfortable and historic victory, an element of premature celebration appeared to infiltrate their ranks and Shaun Bartlett’s typically incisive headed goal for Chiefs from a Jimmy Tau cross in the 74th minute put the fat into the fire as far as Swallows were concerned.

And, not for the first time, the hoodoo that has haunted Swallows on countless times in games against Chiefs appeared to be looming again as panic set into the Birds’ ranks and Japhet Zwane (82nd minute) and Fransman (94th minute) were shown red cards for infringements.

This time, however, Swallows held out on what was ultimately no more than a wing and a prayer—although viewing the proceedings from an overall context, it was a deserved success for a team who looked more likely to score during the first three-quarters of the game.

Swallows now vault into third place in the log, while Chiefs have slipped to 11th place. - Sapa


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