ISHMAEL MOHLABE

The University of Pretoria denied Moroka Swallows three points in a close Premier Soccer League match at Tuks Stadium ast Wednesday night. Swallows’ veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvethe needed only the first six minutes of the game to put Swallows in front, but AmaTuks’ Thabo Mosadi struck in the dying minutes of the second half to make the final score 1-1.

Swallows made their intentions of winning clear as AmaTuks were forced into some committed defending within a minute of the first half. The unmarked Bennett Chenene fired a shot against the poles after a long ball pass into the box. Two minutes later, Katlego Mashego’s left-footed low shot from 20 yards forced Washington Arubi to make his first save.

Gaps in AmaTuks defence were exposed when Nomvethe beat an offside trap from the centre line. Nomvethe played one on one with Arubi before curling the ball beyond the goalkeeper’s reach, putting the visitors ahead in the sixth minute. After the opening goal, AmaTuks started to dominate ball possession while the Swallows looked dangerous on the counter attack.

At the 15-minute mark, Diphetogo “Dipsy” Selolwane launched a 25-yard volley which cruised over the crossbar following an AmaTuks corner. AmaTuks could have equalised in the 25th minute but Thokozani Sekotlong’s free kick from the penalty spot landed safely in Greg Etafia’s gloves.

Swallows continued to exploit AmaTuks’ defence. Former Orlando Pirates striker Chenene shot just wide of the goal after good ball control from Mashego.

AmaTuks head coach Steve Barker made a double substitution before the restart with Mame Niang and Mpho Matsi replacing Sekotlong and Petrus Shitembi respectively.

Swallows looked dangerous early in the second half. Bafana midfielder Lerato Chabangu struck a long-range ball which Arubi saved for a corner. AmaTuks stood firm in their attack and started to frustrate Swallows’ defence with some promising runs. Thabo Mosadi replaced Matsi, who had to leave the field after ten minutes due to an injury.

Niang and Mosadi boosted AmaTuks’s attack. Niang won almost every aerial ball in support of Mosadi. Etafia was forced into more saves as Mosadi continuously produced shots on goal.

The final stages of the game saw AmaTuks supporters leaving the stadium early in an admission of defeat, but AmaTuks continued to apply pressure in search of the equaliser. A shot from Niang hit the crossbar but Mosadi reacted quickly and headed the ball into the back of the net.

The equalising goal was important for the struggling Pretoria side, following their 2-0 loss at home to Golden Arrows last week.

Photo: Kobus Barnard

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