Mbulelo Wambi scored a 93rd minute winner as Swallows FC began their DStv Premiership campaign by claiming all three points against Royal AM on Sunday.
DURBAN – A last minute goal from Mbulelo Wambi stunned DStv Premiership newcomers Royal AM and earned so-called “draw specialists” Swallows FC a 1-0 win at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.
Wambi headed home in the dying seconds as a cross from Keletso Makgalwa found him.
Royal AM coach John Maduka opted to start with nearly all players from the acquired Bloemfontein Celtic bar veteran Elias Pelembe who recently joined the club following a stint with Polokwane City.
The game lacked a structured flow though it must be said that Swallows were the better side albeit with a lack of killer instinct haunting them yet again for large portions of the game, as it did last season.
Swallows were the dominant team in the first half. Ruzaigh Gamildien had an opportunity to score as early as the sixth minute from a free-kick but sent his effort into the wall.
Royal AM struggled to maintain possession for sustained periods in the game as they were overcome by the more organized structure of Brandon Truter’s team.
The first-half failed to produce many memorable opportunities but one came in the 36th minute of the game as Royal AM keeper Sipho Chaine produced an alert punch to clear away danger after Swallows veteran Lebohang Mokoena whipped in a neat cross into the Kwa-Zulu Natal based club’s area.
In lieu of having a short time to prepare following Royal AM’s acquisition of the now defunct Bloemfontein Celtic, it is understandable as to why Maduka’s charges struggled to get a foot in the game.
In the second half, it became apparent that they were content to just absorb pressure and try and settle for a point. Swallows goalkeeper Virgil Vries was a mere spectator in the game as the away side failed to trouble him.
Of concern to Swallows will be the fact that their several opportunities to score from set-pieces and attacking passages of play were not converted.
Truter’s side played out to a record 20 draws in the Premiership last season and if they fail to resolve their attacking challenges, that situation from last season could again replicate itself.
One of Swallows only clear-cut chances before their dramatic goal came in the 80th minute as Gamildien surged beyond Lucky Baloyi before his curled shot was just about over the crossbar.
Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos attended the game but could be seen making his way out of the stadium before the full-time whistle. It was hardly surprising that the Belgian opted to leave early in lieu of the lack of spark in the game.
Swallows will next be up against AmaZulu at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on Wednesday while Royal AM will make their home Premiership debut against Cape Town City at the Chatsworth Stadium on the same day.