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‘BIRDS’ IN LAST 16

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LOBAMBA – An average Mbabane Swallows still had vim and vigour to brush aside regional side Masundvwini Royal Swallows to reach the EswatiniBank Cup Last 16 here yesterday.

Swallows skipper Tony ‘ TT’ Tsabedze bagged a hat-trick while DR Congo-born Glody Lilepo celebrated his first goal in his team’s colours to ensure the Swallows of Mbabane responded positively to their recent slump at Somhlolo National Stadium yesterday. Royal Swallows had veteran midfielder/assistant coach Mancoba ‘Dunga’ Kunene attempting to orchestrate the downfall of his former employers in vain. However, the Manzini Super League only had the impressive Stanley Mnisi’s late strike to show for the gusty display.
The final score in the game watched by an over 5 000 strong crowd was not a true reflection of the game, as Musa Manyatsi’s men lived dangerously for prolonged periods until ‘TT’ came to their rescue with the delightful finishes in both halves.

Masundwini had attempted to swing the pendulum in their favour during the early exchanges, with the troublesome Samkelo Mndzebele guiding his effort wide after a defensive mix-up in the sixth minute. In response, Swallows full-back Sakhile Shongwe had forced the home goalkeeper Mnotfo Mbingo to make a desperate save following a devilish cross. The regional side, who boasted the experience of defender Goodman Tfwala and veteran forward Mbuso Gina, whose average age was 39, showed no respect for the illustrious opponents, who play two divisions higher. Stanley brought the best out of Sandanezwe Mathabela between the sticks with an audacious effort from outside the box inside 20 minutes.

Crack

Masundwini had thrown more bodies at the back and it took a good team goal to crack their defence. After good interplay, ‘TT’ forced his way into the danger area to beat the goalkeeper with a low shot in a crowded box in the 21st minute. Five minutes before the interval, ‘TT’ was denied by the woodwork from doubling his tally and Sandile Hlatshwako was also unlucky from the follow-up as it sailed off the mark. The capital city giants took the narrow lead to the break. 

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