Swallows FC have gone back level with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on the DStv Premiership log after defeating Cape Town City 3-2 at the Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday.
The Birds’ brilliant return to the top-flight league continues, with Ruzaigh Gamildien netting two more goals to help his team join ‘Downs on 21 points at the head of the standings – only goal difference sees the reigning champions ahead of the promoted side.
As for the Citizens, they remain in fourth place (six points off the top) but will be bitterly disappointed at suffering a second league defeat of the season and seeing an end to a five-game unbeaten run.
Swallows threatened a breakaway goal in the eighth minute for the first notable chance of the game, with Zaphaniah Mbokoma’s attempt to square a ball across the penalty area almost resulting in an own goal from Giannis Potouridis, but City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh reacted well to save.
The Birds grew in stature as the half wore on, with Given Thibedi firing an effort off target from the edge of the box on 25 minutes, before a sustained spell of pressure which stretched City’s central defenders Potouridis and Taariq Fielies to their limits.
On 38 minutes Swallows were awarded a penalty, with Ruzaigh Gamildien tripped up by Fielies – though the contact may have taken place just outside the 18-yard area. Gamildien converted the spot kick himself to put the Soweto hosts 1-0 up.
Gamildien soon missed a one-on-one chance – being brilliantly denied by Leeuwenburgh – but he was on hand to score again in the 41st minute, turning home a fine low cross by Kgaogelo Sekgota, who himself had been set free down the left by a brilliant through ball from midfield by Thibedi.
Two goals down at the interval, City responded with a change upfront at the start of the second half, replacing Prince Opoku Agyemang with Charles Zulu, while Swallows swapped out the injured Wandisile Letlabika with Junaid Sait.
The Cape side were thrown a lifeline when Thabo Matlaba was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, allowing Mduduzi Mdantsane to net from the penalty spot in the 54th minute and bring the visitors back into the contest.
The Citizens had all the momentum in the second half, which was even more pronounced after Mbokoma received a second yellow caution (though the referee needed this brought to his attention before issuing the subsequent red card) with just under 20 minutes of regulation time to play, reducing the Birds to 10 men.
The hosts’ best attacking chance would be from set pieces and they duly restored a two-goal lead through Sait in the 76th minute, with the substitute defender scoring a brilliant header from Lebogang Mokoena’s corner kick.
The sting appeared to be taken out of the game after the hosts’ third goal, but injury time was a dramatic period, with City having Tashreeq Morris sent off and also scoring a second goal through Mdantsane – who went clear at the top of the scoring charts with eight strikes – but ultimately the three points stayed in Soweto.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming weekend, with City away to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila on Saturday 9 January and Swallows facing Orlando Pirates away in a Soweto derby the following day.
Swallows FC (2) 3 (Gamildien 39’ pen, 41’, Sait 76’)Cape Town City (0) 2 (Mdantsane 54’ pen, 90+3’)
Swallows: Vries, Mere, Ngcobo, Letlabika (Sait 46’), Matlaba, Mthethwa, Thibedi (Nyatama 59’), Mokoena (Basadien 84’), Sekgota (Mahlatsi 75’), Gamildien (Seabi 84’), Mbokoma
City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhize, Fielies, Potouridis (Roberts 78’), Mashego (Cupido 60’), Morris, Mobara, Mokeke, Mdantsane, Ralani, Opoku Agyemang (Zulu 46’)© Backpage TXT