The defending MTN8 champions Orlando Pirates were dumped out of this season’s tournament at the first hurdle when they were beaten by Soweto rivals Swallows FC on Saturday.
CAPE TOWN – Swallows FC scored an upset 2-1 win over MTN8 champions Orlando Pirates in Saturday’s Soweto Derby at the Orlando Stadium after leading by the same margin at the break.
As a result of this quarter-final outcome, last season’s champions Pirates joined SuperSport United on the also-ran’s scrapheap after they were eliminated earlier on Saturday by Lamontville Golden Arrows.
The match was Swallows’ debut in the MTN8 competition after they qualified with a sixth-placed finish in last year’s DStv Premiership standings.
The hosts Pirates were very composed at the start and did not show much attacking intent. Swallows on the other chased hard when Pirates were in possession and on occasions managed interceptions.
After 10 minutes, Swallows were enjoying the initiative. They showed neat touches on the back of excellent inter-play as they approached the opposition goalmouth. Perhaps Swallows were overdoing the fancy play, and as a result Pirates’ defence were let off the hook.
Swallows’ striker Ruzaigh Gamildien had a gilt-edged chance in the 12th minute, but nothing came of his powder puff parting shot. He made amends in dramatic fashion three minutes later however when he curled in a close-in free-kick high over the Pirates wall. Pirates’ Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori, unsighted, made a despairing dive but was too late to stop the ball from curling round the near post.
The early goal seemed to inject added energy into Swallows’ attacking sorties. After 20 minutes, they forced three corners without further success.
A dreadful mess in Pirates’ defence saw Ofori coming well out of his net to thwart a Swallows breakaway in the 23rd minute. However, instead of clearing first time, he tried to make a pass, and Swallows Dillan Solomons managed a deflection. The ball landed at the feet of Gamildien. He deftly lobbed the ball into an unattended net to give Swallows a deserved 2-0 lead.
Swallows’ Namibian goalkeeper Virgil Vries upended his fellow national Deon Hotto in the penalty area and Kabelo Dlamini stepped up with a powerful shot from the ‘spot’ to reduce the deficit for Pirates (2-1)
As the first half wound to its close, Gamildien had two chances in quick succession for a hattrick, but his efforts from close-in free-kicks were wastefully high of the target.
Pirates showed far greater purpose when second-half play resumed, and midfielder Kabelo Dlamini had an early chance for an equaliser, but he struck a 46th-minute chance over the crossbar.
Swallows were forced to go on the defensive for a spell, and Pirates managed a few chances but failed to exploit their advantage.
Just past the hour mark, Pirates’ defence was caught napping and substitute Keletso Makgalwa put the ball into the net. However, the effort was disallowed because teammate Monnapule Saleng was ruled offside plumb in front of goal.
Towards the end, when Pirates were enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Hotto miscued a sitter, and Fortune Makaringe ballooned his effort over the crossbar.
When these two efforts were spurned, Pirates chances of saving the match disappeared into the chilly night atmosphere at the Orlando Stadium.