Chenene winner clinches Cup title for Swallows
A late strike from Bennett Chenene lifted Moroka Swallows to a 2-1 victory as they fought back from a goal down against Supersport United in the MTN8 cup final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Having wasted numerous chances in the second half, the Birds broke the 1-1 deadlock when Chenene produced a supremely clinical finish with a lob from outside the area, sending the crowd into a frenzy and finally rewarding a strong Swallows side that finished second in the Premiership last season.
The Birds, who secured the top-eight title for the first time since 1979, went in search of the opening goal right from the start.
In the second minute, Felix Obada missed a sharp chance in the box after a good pass by Lerato Chabangu released the player down the right.
The early exchanges were dominated by the Birds, but Supersport converted their first opportunity of the match to immediately turn the tide in their favour.
Franklin Cale scored the first goal in what looked like move straight off the training ground. Sameegh Doutie provided a pinpoint cross inside the area, and Cale was in perfect position to dispatch the ball into the back of the net, in front of an open goal, to give United the lead.
Five minutes later Swallows had a penalty appeal turned down.
Obada went to ground in the box with a Supersport defender seemingly tugging the attacker’s jersey, but the referee waved play on.
Doutie and Cale combined in carbon-copy fashion again in the 16th minute, but this time Cale’s left-footed attempt was scuffed wide.
A superb passage of football followed in the 18th minute as Swallows equalised.
Captain Lefa Tsutsulupa weaved his way infield before his short pass found the surging Giorgi Nergadze whose powerful strike from outside the area rifled past Supersport goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez.
Eight minutes later, Katlego Mashego spurned an easy chance to put Swallows ahead. Mashego rounded the Supersport defence to leave himself one-on-one with Fernandez, but the keeper came off his line and Mashego tried to lob the ball into goal, sending his attempt over the target.
In the 51st minute, Cale took a free kick from a dangerous position on the edge of the Swallows area but his strike went under the wall and forced a save from Etafia.
Obada wasted another chance for the Birds in the 58th minute with a shot from a tight angle inside the area, when there were three players waiting for a cross.
A minute later Supersport cleared the ball off their line from a Chabangu attempt, and the Swallows players, along with the vocal crowd, pleaded with officials to award the goal, to no avail.
With four minutes left, Chenene was released down the middle of the field, and his cool finish over the head of Fernandez secured Swallows their first trophy since they won the Nedbank Cup in 2009.