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BUFFS CEMENT CONFED SPOT

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NHLANGANO - MTN Premier League top goalscorer Phiwayinkhosi Dlamini’s brace cemented Young Buffaloes’ CAF Confederations Cup spot when they beat Manzini Sea Birds 4-2 here yesterday afternoon.

A remarkable league wrap up for the army side premonitioned early into the match as Dlamini lived up to his reputation and tapped in a cross from Sandile Gamedze. Retaliation from the opposition’s Captain Muzi Tsabedze was off target in pursuit of an equaliser seven minutes later. Sprinting from the centre of the pitch, Buffaloes’ Sihlangu Mkhwanazi stitched a fire ball into the back of the net from 25 yards to make it 2-0 before the quarter-hour mark. Sea Birds’ quick as a silver Thembumenzi Mayisela was shown a yellow card for foul play. Buffaloes dominated the first half but tables turned when Sea Birds Mthokozisi Gwebu planted a penalty past Buffaloes’ second choice goalkeeper Phumlani Ngobese, scoring three minutes into the second half.

Veteran player Xolani Sibandze quickly closed in the gap and levelled matters seven minutes later to make it 2-2 and scored from outside the box. The sea birds’ reformation was a challenge for Buffaloes and the strong easterly winds seemed to be working against them. A frustrated Kwakhe Mthethwa was cautioned by referee Wandile Mamba for a bad tackle on Sea Birds’ Xolani Sibandze. The phrase ‘from a frying pan into the fire’ lived to be true for Sibandze who went into an alarming head-on-collision with team player Sibusiso Dlamini soon after escaping the perilous tackle from Mthethwa and had to be substituted as team officials rushed him out of the field for quick medical attention.

Penalty

Sea Birds’ Jabulani Mabuza cost his team a penalty after forcing Kwakhe to the ground. Expectedly so,  the entrusted league top goalscorer pinned his 23rd goal upon taking the penalty shot which sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and Buffaloes celebrated 3-2 lead in the last 11minutes. Another reputable striker Ndoda Mtsetfwa hammered the final nail in the coffin and took one home upon receiving a cross from Manqoba Mavimbela with only three minutes remaining before the final whistle. Buffaloes 4-2 victory confirmed them as the MTN Premier League 2020/2021 season’s runners-up behind champions Royal Leopard  to earn them a ticket to make their fifth appearance in  the CAF Confederations Cup tournament. They finished the league with 59 goals in the bag and managed to win 22 of 30 games with two defeats and six draws. This was Sea Birds’ 12th defeat of the season following a 3-0 loss to Mbabane Swallows last week. They managed to score 31 goals and conceded 36. 

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