|Siyabonga Nomvethe © Backpagepix
Siyabonga Nomvethe and Mpho Maleka scored a brace each as Moroka Swallows claimed second spot in the Absa Premiership as they beat Black Leopards 5-2 at the Giyani Stadium on Friday night.
Georgi Nergadze opened the scoring for Swallows, but a late show by Kingston Nkhatha who grabbed a brace salvaged some pride for Leopards.
Swallows nearly took an early lead in the sixth minute when Leopards player Luyolo Mapolisa handled the ball just outside the box. Lerato Chabangu assumed the responsibility of taking the free-kick and his 25-yard attempt was tipped over the post by Leopards keep Posnett Omony.
But in the 26th minute Lidoda Duvha could have scored the opening goal when from a corner-kick Samuel Mabunda latched onto the ball and volleyed from near the penalty area, but Swallows’ Great Etafia pulled off a fantastic save.
In the 38th minute the home side caught the visitors on the counter attack and a left-footed shot from left side by Mapolisa from 20-yards was parried by Etafia.
Four minutes into the second half Chabangu did a brilliant turn around and lost his markers on the left wing. He then switched play with a diagonal pass onto an on rushing Joseph Makhanya on the right wing, but the former Orlando Pirates winger sent the volley from 12-yards over the top of the bar.
The Birds then took the lead in the 57th minute via a corner. Georgio Nergadze rose highest at the near post to head high into the net beyond Omony’s reach to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
In the 62nd minute a shot by Makhanya with his left foot from 20-yards on the right side narrowly missed the goal.
But the Birds, who were creating numerous chances at this point, doubled their lead in the 70th minute.
A pin point free-kick from the right wing by Chabangu who sent the ball into the far post was headed home by an unmarked Nomvethe to make it 2-0 and take his league season tally to 17 goals.
But Nomvethe was not done yet. Chabangu caused some trouble in the Leopards box and a poor clearance by a Leopards defender who laid the ball into the path of Nomvethe coolly slotted from close range to make 3-0 in the 80th minute.
Two minutes later a good passing move by Swallows on the left wing into the centre of the Leopards box was buried home by Maleka, who chipped the ball over Omony in the 82nd minute.
Maleka then equalled Nomvthe’s match haul when Oscar Machapa went past a few Leopards defenders on the right wing and then supplied an unmarked Maleka in the box who made it 5-0 in the 85th minute.
But Nkhatha then stole the show in the remaining minute when he beat the off side trap and slotted beyond Etafia to it make 5-1 in the 86th minute.
Nkhatha then had another chance as he again left the Swallows defenders for dead and beat Etafia in the 92nd minute to score his brace.
The win means Swallows are now two points behind leaders Orlando Pirates.
Moroka Swallows (0) 5 (Nergadze 57’, Nomvethe 71’ + 80’, Maleka 82’+ 85’)
Black Leopards (0) 2 (Nkhatha 86’ + 92’)
Moroka Swallows: G Etafia; R Isaacs, L Mungomeni, S Lekgothoane, G Nergadze; L Tsutsulupa (B Thwala 86’), D Mathebula, J Makhanya (O Machapa 70’), B Chenene (M Maleka 46’); L Chabangu, S Nomvethe
Leopards: P Omony; N Xakane, S Sighoole, H Khoza, S Mabunda (K Nkhatha 80’); L Mapolisa, R Monama, I Duiker, E Dzaga, J Obaje (K Taaiboos 75’); R Ramagalela