Swallows suffer fourth straight loss

Platinum Stars broke a seven-game winless streak in the Absa Premiership when they defeated Moroka Swallows 1-0 at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A first-half own goal from the Birds’ Rudi Isaacs decided the match, with Dikwena claiming a first win in the league since early December to leapfrog the Soweto side into 14th place on 21 points. For Swallows, it was a fourth successive defeat in 2015. They drop to 15th on 18 points, just five ahead of basement club AmaZulu.

Stars very nearly opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Swallows goalkeeper Obren Cuckovic came flying off his line to try and claim a cross, but Eleazar Rodgers got to the ball first and sent a header toward goal, only to watch it skip agonisingly wide of the unguarded target.

The hosts came close again in the 33rd minute when a quick passing move put Vuyo Mere in space down the right of the penalty area, but his shot/cross flashed just wide of the far post, with Cuckovic well beaten.

Swallows’ attack generally had to feed off scraps throughout the first half, though a good movement in the 38th minute involving Dikganga Mabalane, Siyabonga Nomvethe and Lerato Chabangu ended with the latter firing a half-volley over the target.

Dikwena deservedly claimed the lead a couple of minutes before the end of regulation time in the first half. Tintswalo Tshabalala got free down the left flank and was able to play a dangerous ball into the goal-mouth which forced a back-tracking Rudi Isaacs to score an own goal.

Swallows were much improved after the break and a slick move gave Nomvethe a sight of goal in the 52nd minute, only for the veteran striker to send a left-footed shot wide of the mark.

The Birds introduced attack-minded players such as Felix Obada, Lefa Tsutsulupa and Vuyisile Wana as the second half wore on, but Stars’ defence remained vigilant and they were able to protect their lead up to the fulltime whistle.

Platinum Stars (1) 1 (Isaacs 43’ og)

Moroka Swallows 0

Stars: Dambe, Mere, Tshikovi, Sithole, Masenamela, Nyanda (Makudubela 76’), Madubanya, Mathe, Tshabalala (Nhlapo 87’), Mabena (Moon 85’), Rodgers

Swallows: Cuckovic, Mungomeni, Isaacs, Cohen, Lekgothoane, Mabalane, Baloyi, Yende (Tsutsulupa 77’), Cele, Chabangu (Wana 77’), Nomvethe (Obada 66’)