Musa Nyatama scored at the very death as Swallows FC denied league leaders and champions Mamelodi Sundowns the three points in their DStv Premiership clash in Tshwane.
JOHANNESBURG – Musa Nyatama broke Mamelodi Sundowns’ heart with the last kick of the game after heading home a close-range rebound to ensure that Swallows FC snatched a point during their 1-1 draw with the champions at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Despite the late set-back, the Brazilians remained at the pinnacle of the DStv with 27 points from 13 matches, thanks to seven wins and six draws, while Swallows remained second with 27 points, also with seven wins and six draws as they continue to soar in the elite league.
The latter will be the most delighted with the result, considering they were the most confident outfit coming to this encounter after a clean sweep at the league’s monthly awards midweek, while Sundowns’ slump in form continued as they endured their third successive draw.
In a clash that was expected to produce fireworks, both teams failed to pitch up to the party, especially after a lacklustre first half that didn’t have any realistic chances – until the stroke of half-time when Kermit Erasmus pounced his team’s first goal in three matches.
Erasmus’ goal was a matter of a gamble going right for the Brazilians, considering despite the absence of natural centre backs to slot alongside Mosa Lebusa – due to various reasons for omissions from the match-day squad – their defence was rarely exposed by Swallows’ attack.
Such that makeshift centre back Mothobi Mvala didn’t have a nervy afternoon, while he was also complemented by captain Hlompho Kekana who was making his first starting line-up appearance since late December against Maritzburg United.
Alongside George Maluleka, who was a link between defence and attack, Kekana tried to make Sundowns tick. But the 35-year-old was wasteful of his team’s first chance of the game, after lacing a close-range effort wide from goal after a delightful backheel set-up from Themba Zwane.
But the Sundowns’ skipper would be involved in his team’s breakthrough, winning possession during a duel against Ruizaigh Gamildien. Maluleka got at the end of the loose ball before tearing Swallows’ defence to find an unmarked Erasmus.
The Bafana Bafana striker kept a composed figure, picked his spot before slotting into an empty top corner with goalkeeper Virgil Vries out of his line, while the latter had nearly cost his team early with two spilled balls that Downs failed to capitalise on.
The second half started on a slightly frantic pace, both teams attacking with purpose. Sundowns were the first to make their intentions clear, Erasmus attempting to pick out Vries with a curling effort into the corner but it lacked power as the Namibian collected with ease.
Vries, though, was quick in build-up. His distribution was always set to find Gamildien up front but the team’s top goal scorer wasted two opportunities in succession – as he initially mis-kicked the ball with Denis Onyango to beat before Mvala closed him down in the second foray.
At the end, it all ended in a draw. Sundowns will be hoping to return to winning ways in their next encounter against Black Leopards on Wednesday. Swallows, on the other hand, will be out to continue with the impressive campaign when they clash with SuperSport United next Saturday.