Maritzburg United have secured a deserved 3-1 Absa Premiership victory over Moroka Swallows on Saturday night that leaves them just four points behind league leaders Kaizer Chiefs
Ernst Middendorp’s side move up to third with the win and continue a fine run of form that has positioned them as Dark Horses for this season’s championship.
The home side were reduced to 10 men just past the half-hour mark when Gilbert Mapemba was sent-off for a crude lunge, and Maritzburg made them pay as goals from Cuthbert Malajila, Terrence Mandaza and Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi sealed their win.
Felix Obada scored a consolation against his former side, but it is now no wins in six for The Birds, whose seasons is unraveling as they slip to 10th in the Absa Premiership.
The win for Ernst Middendorp’s side was even achieved without their best player this season as Delron Buckley sat out through suspension.
But they were ahead on 18 minutes as a long ball from defender Mohamed Awal was not dealt with by the Swallows defence and Malajila stole in to deflect the ball home.
The Birds hitting back through Obada, who was set up by a fine run down the left from Tsutsulupa, the low cross providing a simple tap-in chance.
Mapemba was then sent-off as he went in with both feet on Reuben Cloete and from that moment on the home side had their backs to the wall.
It did take until the final five minutes for Maritzburg to seal their win though, with Mandaza putting them ahead as he converted Cloete’s free-kick at the back post to make it 2-1.
And Sarfo-Gyamfi ensured the points were headed back to KwaZulu-Natal as the Ghanaian collected a pass from Ryan De Jongh and coolly slotted past Greg Etafia in the home goal.
Both these sides will have the week off with the Telkom Knockout final scheduled for next weekend. Swallows’ next engagement is an away trip to Lamontville Golden Arrows on December 4. Maritzburg host Platinum Stars on the same night.