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Swallows stun Lioli again

Teboho Molapo

 Swallows…………….(0) 1

Lioli………………..…..(0) 0

 MAZENOD – They say lightning doesn’t strike twice. Well, it did in Mazenod yesterday as lowly Swallows beat mighty Lioli 1-0 almost a year after beating Tse Nala by the same score-line in a similar smash-and-grab job.

Again Lioli dominated the match but Tse Nala old boy Lekhotla Pitso’s deflected 61st minute strike meant all three points stayed in Mazenod.

When referee Letuka Sekoati blew his final whistle Swallows fans and players streamed onto the field in wild scenes of celebration after another famous giant killing.

As the Maswai-swai faithful were thumping their chests and dancing Lioli’s pain was clear for all to see.

The result is another blow for struggling Lioli and their under-pressure coach Halemakale Mahlaha.

It is the third defeat on the spin for the 2009 league champions and it has seen them drop into the relegation zone with just 15 points from 13 matches.

It was the same story for Lioli who controlled possession of the game but failed to capitalise on their superiority.

Swallows, clearly nervous after an uncertain start to the season, struggled to find a rhythm and for the first half Tse Nala had their way with their attack spearheaded by Montoeli Sonopo and Bafokeng Mosala frequently threatening to explode.

In the 13th minute Malebanye Ramoabi had his long range free-kick tipped over the bar by Swallows keeper Pita Fusi.

Two minutes later left-back Ranthimo Tšeole’s cross hit the crossbar.

The only real chance Swallows had was Pitso’s fierce left-footed strike that was tipped away by Lioli keeper Pompo Shoai.

The second half saw Swallows attempt to press Lioli higher up the pitch and deliver the ball upfield quickly.

In the 61st minute a Swallows long ball looking for the busy Rababhlakoana Ntema fell to Pitso whose shot struck a defender and completely wrong footed Shoai to ultimately give Swallows legend Teele Ntšonyana victory in his first full game in charge of his hometown team.

“Considering that I have only been with the team for a week it is a great result. It was a must-win game,” a jubilant Ntšonyana said after the game.

“All that we are doing is trying to help Swallows avoid relegation and this win is a result of the work we have done with Ntate (Motlatsi) Maseela and Joele (Letsoela),” Ntšonyana said.

“It should be a great confidence boost going forward. The spirit (won us the game), tactically I can’t say we were good, but the determination was there and that’s where it all starts,” he added.

Swallows’ determination was exemplified by defenders Mapheelle Ngoako, Bokang Selepe, Pitso Moeketsi and Sello Thaole who defended fiercely as Lioli battled to equalise.

Once more luck didn’t seem to be on Tse Nala’s side. The Teyateyaneng side had a penalty appeal waved away and Mosala missed a glorious chance with seconds left. Lioli will be praying Lady Luck pays them a visit very soon; Tse Nala are struggling.

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