Royal AM in Nedbank Cup last 8 after Mahlasela gives them victory over Swallows in Soweto

Royal AM in Nedbank Cup last 8 after Mahlasela gives them victory over Swallows in Soweto

Kabelo Mahlasela’s second half goal took Royal AM to the last 8 of the Nedbank Cup, the attacking midfielder’s solitary goal at the Dobsonville Stadium on Friday night helping the Durban side to beat Swallows FC  for the second time within a week.

Swallows suffered a 1-0 loss in a DStv Premiership match against Royal in Durban on Sunday and had their captain Lebohang Mokoena miss a penalty in a cup tie in Soweto on Friday before Mahlasela scored the winner for the visitors.

This was one of the poor cup matches where neither side produced a shot at goal for close to 40 minutes of the first half, where there was a lot of huffing and puffing with no side having a clear direction towards goals.

Possession wise both teams had it but it was what they did with the ball in the final third that made this match one of the poor ones, especially in the first stanza. Lots of build-up play was made but both sides were terrible when it came to producing a final pass or taking a shot at goal.

The first 45 minutes’ stats showed that the visitors, Royal, had two tame shots on target out of their five attempts while Swallows had no shot that had to be saved by Royal goalkeeper Patrick Nyame in two chances they created.

It was only after three minutes into the second period in which Royals showed some seriousness about getting the goal, Mfundo Thikazi shooting straight to Jody February’s hands after a promising interchange of passes just outside the area.

Swallows fluffed a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the 56th minute when they earned the penalty after Jabulani Ncobeni handled Monnapule Saleng’s cross inside the area. The Birds skipper Lebohang Mokoena stepped up but took a very tame kick that Nyame easily saved to keep the scoreline at 0-0.

Swallows winger Kamohelo Mahlatsi produced the best shot on goal in the 75th minute but Nyame again produced a great save three minutes before second half substitute Mahlasela linked up with Ndumiso Mabena and Mxolisi Macuphu before beating February with a well-placed shot to break the deadlock and take John Maduka’s side to the quarterfinals.

It was Maduka’s second-half changes that steered his team to this victory, as Victor Letsoalo, Mabena and Mahlasela made a difference after coming on in the second half.

The defeat may, in hindsight, give Swallows a great chance to focus on saving themselves from relegation as they’re on the 14th spot in the Premiership and just one point away from bottom side Baroka FC.

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