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Tsabalaka wins it for Weslians'

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MANZINI – Elias Tsabalaka broke a four year goal drought to score a magnificent winner 12 minutes from time during yester-day’s MTN Premier League 2-1 win over Young Buffaloes.

With gangly forward Nkululeko Dlamini missing through injury, Mathews ‘Chaka Chaka’ Mandlazi made two changes from the team that beat Manzini Sundowns 4-1 in the Fixedfone Cup last week.

Size Phiri started ahead of Sicelo ‘Junior’ Simelane and Ghanaian striker Mohammed Anas partnered S’dumo Shongwe upfront in the absence of the former Umbelebele Cosmos player.

Tsabalaka scored with a stunning left foot at 16 yards out after turning his marker against the 10 man army side that had Sifiso Maseko controversially sent off for a second bookable offence by referee Simanga Nhleko.

The former Mbabane Swallows player should have won a free kick at the edge of the box after Tsabalaka had tugged his short on a one on one situation. If anything it would have been the ‘Weslians’ skipper who should have earned a card in the incident that summarised a nightmarish week for referees which left many people at the venue wondering what might have befell the whistlemen.

Maseko received a second yellow card for simulation when he had gone for about three yards with the defender tugging his short. With the scoreline reading 2-1 in favour of the hub giants, the speedy forward walked with four minutes to go to compound the situation for his team.

The win has taken Wanderers to the top four in the log table at nine points. They now trail leaders Malanti Chiefs and second placed Manzini Sundowns by three points.

In an interesting first half, army side took the lead ten minutes before recess through the red carded Sifiso after clinically finishing a pass from Under-20 striker Sifiso Mazibuko at 10 yards. Elias Tsabalaka was guilty of failing to clear an easy ball at the edge of the 18 area.

But the first chance in this half fell for Size Phiri 24 seconds into the match but the former Moneni Pirates winger failed to bury a lofted cross at six yards with Buffaloes defenders caught ball watching.

Timothy Mathonsi nearly opened the score board, two minutes later; Sibusiso Baraba Mabuza showed his class with an acrobatic save. Buffaloes had their own share of opportunities, but Sandile ‘Nko-mishi’ Ginindza proved to be their main obstacle. Wanderers returned from recess a much improved side and it took them six minutes to even the score.

A nice move from the centerline was initiated by the vastly improved Xolani Papi Sikhondze. He dispatched overlapping right back Lwazi Shumi Mamba who interchanged passes with Sandile Theo Motsa. The latter forced his way into the box, but his first touch was not good enough as the ball was left behind. Sdumo Shongwe sneaked in to blast a hard and low shot in the near post.

Ten minutes later, Lwazi Shana Maziya could not believe it when his thunderous shot from a free kick at 25 yards bounced off the cross bar and back to play with everyone counting a goal.

Referee Simanga Nhleko questionably judged Theo for simulation when it looked like Baraba had clipped his feet inside the box.

Hardworking forward Mohammed Anas controlled inside the box, turned and released a scorching shot that Baraba saved. Two minutes later captain Elias Tsabalaka was the hero with a fine left footed shot inside the box. The goal came as the ‘Weslians’ laid siege at Buffaloes goal.

It was a superb winner for the maroon and white outfit who have notched up their second consecutive league win.

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