Cape Town City fought back from a man down and a goal down to secure a 2-1 victory over Swallows in a 2021-22 DStv Premiership match at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Dube Birds were good value for their one-goal lead at halftime, courtesy of Monnapule Saleng’s first goal of the season. City’s evening got worse when Abbubaker Mobara was shown a straight red card for a professional foul on Ruzaigh Gamildien.
However, Eric Tinkler’s side gave themselves renewed hope with an equaliser from Idumba Fasika on 63 minutes before Mpho Makola completed the comeback win eight minutes from time.
The Citizens moved up to ninth place, having extended their unbeaten run in the DStv Premiership to six matches, while the Soweto outfit remain in 14th position after seeing their winless streak stretch to three games.
After drawing their last encounters, both teams were hoping to get back on the winning trail for different reasons – City with an eye on the top-eight and Swallows looking to escape a relegation dogfight.
The visitors came flying out of the blocks and tested Hugo Marques three times in the opening seven minutes, with his third save the pick of the bunch to deny Lebohang Mokoena from inside the box.
They went close again on the quarter-hour mark as Keletso Makgalwa evaded the offside trap and raced through on goal before shooting inches wide of the far post.
The early pressure paid dividends just three minutes later, however, when Saleng cut out a pass from Thato Mokeke and fired past Marques to open the scoring.
The club from the Mother City looked to respond and Mobara was just a fraction away from restoring parity after his free-kick struck the frame of the goal on 25 minutes, while Tashreeq Morris failed to test Jody February from long range 10 minutes later.
City’s hopes of getting back into the contest suffered a massive blow three minutes before half-time when Mobara was given his marching orders for bringing down Gamildien as the last defender.
Dylan Kerr’s troops almost rubbed salt into their wounds from the resulting free-kick, which Gamildien could only steer against the woodwork.
The Citizens looked like a different team after the restart as they threatened the opposition goal time and time again. They nearly drew level in the opening minute of the second half, but Fagrie Lakay was unable to keep his header down from Makola’s cross.
Marques was called into action again on 56 minutes to prevent Gamildien’s shot from finding the far corner of the goal and it turned out to be a crucial save as City equalised seven minutes later.
Fasika reacted quickest to pounce from close range after Swallows failed to deal with Thamsanqa Mkhize’s initial header.
Lakay should have given them the lead just moments later as he broke clean through on goal, but his shot flew over the crossbar. Makola spared his teammates’ blushes though, when he put City in front with an exquisitely-taken free-kick on 82 minutes.
Makola was presented with two more chances to extend their advantage in the closing stages, only to be denied by February and then the post in the space of three minutes.
Cape Town City (0) 2 (Fasika 63′, Makola 82′)
Swallows FC (1) 1 (Saleng 18′)
Cape Town City: Marques, Mkhize, Mobara, Fasika, Mashego, Mokeke (Mokhuoane 46′), Makola (Goedeman 90′), Mdantsane (Nodada 46′), Ralani (Martin 58′), Lakay, Morris (Cupido 45′).
Swallows FC: February, Matlaba, Letlabika, Sasman (Wambi 78′), Langerman, Mahlatsi, Mergerman, Mokoena (Nyatama 78′), Makgalwa (Mohamme 78′), Gamildien, Saleng (Muwowo 71′).
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