Swallows FC maintained their outstanding start to the 2020/21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season by defeating their Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday night.
The only goal of the match was netted by Joseph Mhlongo, who was making his debut for the Birds in a tightly contested Soweto Derby encounter.
Amakhosi were desperate to snap their four-match winless run across all competitions after dropping points when they let a 2-1 lead slip as they drew 2-2 with Lamontville Golden Arrows over the weekend.
Coach Gavin Hunt showed consistency in his team selection as he named an unchanged side with Leonardo Castro spearheading Chiefs' attack after grabbing a brace against Arrows.
On the other hand, the Birds were looking to maintain their unbeaten start to their league campaign after drawing 0-0 with fellow newly-promoted side TS Galaxy over the weekend.
Hunt's counterpart, Brandon Truter made one change to the team which took on Galaxy with Mamelodi Sundowns loanee Sammy Seabi replacing Kamohelo Mahlatsi in the starting line-up.
Chiefs saw most of the ball in the early exchanges with the visitors targeting Sfiso Hlanti in the left-back position as most of Amakhosi's attacks were coming from the right-hand side.
Kgotso Moleko was making overlapping runs and delivering good crosses into the box and one of them found Leonardo Castro, who attempted an overhead kick, but he failed to connect with the ball.
Moleko then forced Swallows goalkeeper Virgil Vries into a good save at the near-post with a dangerous curling cross as Amakhosi pushed for the opening goal.
Willard Katsande should have done better after connecting with Moleko's cross at the far post, but the former Zimbabwe captain failed to direct his header towards goal.
Pressure mounted on the Birds' defence and Philani Zulu was just unlucky when his well-taken shot from inside the box hit the crossbar with Vries rooted to the ground.
Amakhosi thought they had finally taken the lead when Lebogang Manyama's free-kick was bundled home by Daniel Cardoso, but the goal was disallowed for a foul and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
Coach Truter decided to pull out Hlanti, who had a poor first-half, and he introduced experienced left-back Thabo Matlaba prior to the start of the second half.
Swallows were the better side after the restart with an unmarked Seabi heading over the crossbar after setting up Mokoena, before Ruzaigh Gamildien's effort went inches wide of the target.
With the Birds controlling the match and Mokoena dictating terms in midfield, Hunt made a double substitution as he introduced promising midfielder Njabulo Blom and veteran forward Bernard Parker.
However, the Swallows defence which was led by former Bloemfontein Celtic captain Wandisile Letlabika was solid and compact in the closing stages of the encounter.
The hosts launched late attacks and they grabbed a goal when Mokoena delivered a delightful cross for second-half substitute Joseph Mhlongo, who beat Chiefs keeper Khune to make it 1-0 to Swallows with four minutes left.
Mhlongo's late goal sealed Swallows' hard-fought 1-0 victory over Chiefs, who were unable to trouble Vries in the latter stages of the encounter.
The victory took Swallows to the top of the league standings a point above second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, while Chiefs remained 11th on the table.
Chiefs have turned their attention to their Caf Champions League clash with Cameroonian side PWD Bamenda which will be played on Sunday and Swallows will face Arrows in a PSL match on December 5.