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JOY AND SORROW IN Y’ELLO LEAGUE: BRACEFUL ‘BIRD-ENHORST’

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MBABANE – He is in good form – that is ex-Eswatini international Felix ‘Fela’ Badenhorst who scored his second brace in a week for Mbabane Swallows yesterday.

Badenhorst helped Swallows topple faltering army side Young Buffaloes who held the second spot, but faltered against relegation-threatened rookies Seven Dreams after a 1-all draw. Interestingly, Swallows played earlier in the same venue while Buffaloes were the second match. Badenhorst and his side (Swallows) made their intentions known, as they nailed three to one against the rookies and are now tied on points with Buffaloes but sit above the army team as of yesterday on better goal difference. Also on target for Swallows was Ayanda Gadlela who hit the second goal 16 minutes into the match. Badenhorst opened the deadlock in the fourth minute before completing his brace seven minutes from full-time.

Dominated

The win not only affected Buffaloes, who have a game in hand and now also trail leaders Green Mamba who have 43 points by six points, but also Mbabane Highlanders who were third on the table before yesterday’s games, as they dropped to fourth and now must beat a tough Royal Leopard this afternoon or also fall back to the title chasing pack. It was otherwise a lukewarm game dominated by Swallows.

The former Mbombela United skipper, Badenhorst who scored a brace even last week against Seven Dreams remains the leading top scorer who is two ahead of Buffaloes’ goal-a-game forward Njabulo Maziya. Badenhorst’s first goal yesterday came unexpectedly and gave Umkhonto KaShaka the lead after he caught the visitors’ goalkeeper Dumsani Dlamini napping with a long range effort from outside the box, which landed in the far corner of the net.

This was his 16th goal of the season.  Swallows deservedly doubled the lead a minute after the quarter-hour mark through the impressive Gadlela, who received a pass from the left flank to slot home his second goal in Swallows colours. Early on, defender Kingsley Kwakyi could not believe his eyes when his well taken header was cleared just before it crossed the goal line by Madlenya’s Senzo Fakudze.

The visitors never made an attempt at goal for the better part of the first stanza and it was the home team which made the last attempt, through veteran winger Tony ‘TT’ Tsabedze, whose rasping shot from outside the box narrowly missed the target a few minutes before half-time.The second half saw Swallows taking off the foot from the pedal a bit, but just 10 minutes into the second half Badenhorst unleashed yet another of his trademark shots which nearly caught the keeper biting his fingers.

From that resultant goal kick, Madlenya launched an attack which resulted to Kwakyi handling the ball in the box. Referee Mbongeni Shongwe did not hesitate but pointed to the spot. Defender Thabiso ‘TK’ Dlamini made no mistake and reduced the deficit to 2-1. Dlamini also scored the consolation goal in the 1-2 loss to Highlanders last week at Mayaluka Stadium from the spot.

Man of the Match:

Felix Badenhorst – He completed his brace seven minutes before regulation time when he rose unmarked to nod home his 16th goal of the season. The result saw Swallows claiming the second spot on the log for the first time this season, dethroning Young Buffaloes who played to a 1-all draw against rookies Seven Dreams yesterday.

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