In February this year Santos beat Moroka Swallows 4-1 in an Absa Premiership league game, and on Friday night the Cape side transformed their fine league form in to an emphatic 3-1 Nedbank Cup tournament win against the same opponents at the Germiston Stadium on Friday night.
The visitors proved that their 4-1 victory in Potchefstroom earlier this year was no fluke. Although Swallows took the lead through a Japhet Zwane header just after the half-hour mark, Santos came back strongly in the second half with goals by Gaboni Gabonamong, Romano Scott and man-of-the-match Irwin Isaacs to win the game and retain their tag as favourites.
Both teams looked for an early goal but the shooting was wayward, and when it was on target then Santos keeper Wayne Roberts was solid in goal and so was his counterpart Aubrey Mathibe.
The latter was forced to make saves from Santos’s in-form striker Isaacs and left-winger Marvin Oakes whose well executed set-piece could just not beat the Swallows keeper.
Santos had better chances to score but it was Swallows who struck first from a Zwane header. The former SA international was unmarked at the far post to head home a Siphisehle Ngobese cross.
Swallows took their slender lead in to the break.
Two minutes after the break Eleazor Rodgers headed a free kick by Isaacs on to the upright, but as the ball bounced back in to play, Gabonamong headed it past a beat Mathibe.
A minute later Swallows top scorer James Chamanga was denied by Roberts.
Scott, who came on for Marvin Oakes, scored two minutes after coming on. The nippy striker ran on to a pass from Rodgers and just side-footed the effort home.
Again Swallows went close to scoring, Maimane Phiri’s shot bounced off the upright in to Roberts’s arms.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Isaacs headed home a Thom-Rick October cross in from seven yards out and it was all over for the Birds.
Santos are the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals of SA’s richest cup competition. – Sapa