Musa Nyatama scored in the final play of the game to earn Swallows FC a 1-1 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns in their DStv Premiership clash on Saturday afternoon, keeping the sides level on points at the top of the table.
The Sundowns technical staff made three changes heading into the top-of-the-table clash with Tebogo Langerman, Gaston Sirino and Kermit Erasmus, while Swallows, who were looking to make a big title statement, brought in Lebohang Mokoena, Thabo Matlaba and Fawaaz Basadien into the starting XI.
Sundowns looked to be assertive early on and created an opening with just 10 minutes gone. The returning Sirino was slipped in but his effort was well saved by former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Virgil Vries in the Swallows goal.
Downs’ Uruguayan playmaker was at the heart of matters as he fed the ball to Themba Zwane inside the box after a jinking run, the midfielder sent a cut-back to the unmarked Lebogang Maboe, but the forward could not find the target.
Sirino and Zwane combined again moments later, this time to tee up skipper Hlompho Kekana, but the midfielder’s powerful effort flew inches wide.
Swallows eventually started to grow into the game but were struggling to create any openings on goal, with winger Fawaaz Basadien coming closest after he worked some space for himself with a mazy run but he was knocked off the ball just before he could fire a shot on target.
It looked as though the sides were going to head into the break level until Kekana found Kermit Erasmus in space just outside the box on the left-hand side. The former Orlando Pirates man took a touch and unleashed a curling effort into the top right-hand corner to give Downs the lead.
The scoreboard read 1-0 to the Brazilians at the break.
Swallows came out fighting in the second half as they began to threaten the Sundowns goal with a lot more regularity without forcing Dennis Onyango into a save of note.
Both sides were struggling to deal with the Tshwane afternoon heat and with the tempo of the game suffering for it, the Sundowns coaches turned to their bench as Kekana and Sirino were subbed off with Sibusiso Vilakazi and Sphelele Mkhulise replacing them in the 65th minute.
Swallows also made a change with dangerman Ruzaigh Gamildien going off for Kgaogelo Sekgota and Zaphaniah Mbokoma making way for Kagiso Malinga.
With heat beating down on the Lucas Moripe Stadium, Sundowns tried to control and dictate the tempo by slowing the ball down while in possession and proving disciplined and organised without the ball.
It looked as though the Brazilians would walk away as the winners until Swallows were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Sammy Seabi stepped up and hit a powerful effort through the crowd, while Onyango managed to get a strong hand to the shot he could only parry it into the path of Nyatama who blasted the ball into an empty net to burgle a point for his side.
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