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‘Birds’ fly to the top

By Lwazi Dlamini

Mbabane Swallows atoned for the heart-rendering Ingwenyama Cup final loss to Green Mamba by opening a two-point lead on the MTN League table after beating Rangers FC 1-0 at Mkhuzweni Technical Centre on Saturday.

It was Sibusiso Masuku’s 47th-minute goal which not only ensured the ‘Beautiful Birds’ recorded their 10th win of the season but opened a two-point lead with five games remaining.

The red and white glamour side took advantage of Young Buffaloes crunching 3-2 defeat to Ingwenyama Cup champions Green Mamba in the security forces derby at King Sobhuza II Stadium and title chasers Royal Leopard unexpectedly dropping two points in a goalless draw with relegation-fighting Ezulwini United.


After the round of 21 games, the MTN log standings saw many teams exchanging places in extraordinary fashion such that Young Buffaloes, who were in pole position before Saturday’s games, find itself in the fourth spot while Nsingizini Hotspurs who pummeled Manzini Wanderers 3-0 at KaLanga Technical Centre moved within five points of the new log leaders, Swallows.

It was even more intensifying in the relegation battle where just one point gained by Ezulwini United saw the ‘Stingers’ move to the 11th spot having hit the 18-point mark. Denver Sundowns are now rock-bottom after going down 3-1 to Illovo FC on Friday.

ALSO READ: Caleb’s future uncertain at Mbabane Swallows

Moneni Pirates eased their relegation worries with a convincing 2-0 win over Manzini Sea Birds but remain second from bottom. While Manzini Wanderers suffered the mind-numbing 3-0 loss to Nsingizini Hotspurs, they remain third from the bottom with the same number of points as the second from the bottom-placed Moneni Buccaneers – 17.

Goal-a-game striker, Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa continued with his fine form when he opened the scoring for the Ernest Mavuso-coached side with a deft finish in the 10th minute before Mxolisi Manana added the second goal two minutes later and eccentric winger Mxolisi ‘Xavi’ Mkhontfo made sure of all three points with the third goal, to move the ‘Correctional Services’ side to the third spot and remain in the race to defend their league crown.


It was the second 3-2 win by Green Mamba in the last three weeks after the green and white ensemble beat the army side with the same scoreline in the semi-finals of the Ingwenyama Cup.

ALSO READ: ‘Birds’ cost Bishop Lukhele E15 million

With five games remaining, the battle for the E1 million league first prize involving five teams and the battle for premiership survival in the bottom rung of the log standings involving four teams is exciting and intriguing in equal measure.


But for the red and white part of the Capital City, the celebrations last night atoned for the Ingwenyama Cup final heartbreak as the ‘Birds’ enjoy a two-point lead at the summit of the log with five games remaining.

MTN LEAGUE RESULTS:
Played on Friday:
Moneni Pirates 2-0 Manzini Sea Birds
Illovo FC 3-1 Denver Sundowns
Played on Saturday:
Mbabane Swallows 1-0 Rangers
Young Buffaloes 2-3 Green Mamba
Ezulwini United 0-0 Royal Leopard
Manzini Wanderers 0-3 Nsingizini Hotspurs
Madlenya FC 0-1 Mbabane Highlanders

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