27 February 2013

South Africa: Swallows Sink Pirates After Dramatic Comeback

Orlando Pirates surrendered a two-goal lead and the chance to top the South African Premiership table when Moroka Swallows stormed back to win 3-2 Tuesday. Defeat in a Soweto derby thriller completed a disastrous four days for the former African champions after a stunning 4-1 hiding from third-tier Maluti College in the first round of the South African FA Cup.

Victory over Swallows would have lifted Pirates a point above fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs 11 rounds from the end of the richest African national football championship with a $1.2 million (920,000 euros) first prize. The defending champions began perfectly with a 58-second goal after Swallows failed to cut off a long clearance and Zimbabwean Takesure Chinyama put Sifiso Myeni through to score. Pirates doubled their advantage on 37 minutes as Andile Jali sent Nigerian Greg Etafia the wrong way from a penalty harshly awarded when the ball accidently touched the hand of Roger da Costa.

Former Buccaneer Katelgo Mashego halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time at balmy Dobsonville Stadium as he fired a cut-back from Dikgang Mabalane past Senzo Meyiwa. Poor ball control cost Oupa Manyisa an early second-half chance to restore a two-goal advantage and it was to prove a costly miss for Pirates as Swallows netted twice within eight minutes midway through the half.

Skipper Lefa Tsutsulupa headed the equaliser after a Mabalane drive came back off the post and Lerato Chabangu nodded the winner with his back to goal following a free kick. It was only the third league loss in 19 games by Pirates as they seek a third consecutive title, and bottom-half Swallows have inflicted two of those as they won 3-0 away last September.

Botswana international Mogogi Gabonamong headed past Zimbabwe goalkeeper Washington Arubi 14 minutes from time to give SuperSport United a 1-0 home win over Pretoria University in a mid-table clash in Atteridgeville.

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