Richards Bay FC will end the year in second spot on the DStv Premiership table after defeating Swallows FC 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.
Result: Richards Bay FC 1-0 Swallows FC
Date: 31 December 2022
Venue: King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium
Swallows coach Ernst Middendorp recalled Siyabonga Khumalo, Keegan Allan and Mbulelo Wambi as the Dube Birds looked to get back on the winning trail after the World Cup break.
The Natal Rich Boyz got off to the perfect start when Tshepo Mabua opened his account for the campaign by converting a penalty in the 11th minute.
The Dube Birds have struggled on the road this season, which has seen the side find the back of the net on two occasions prior to this encounter.
Middendorp's troops struggled to carve out clear-cut chances in the first half, with Mwape Musonda going closest with an effort from distance that was saved by goalkeeper Salim Magoola.
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Middendorp responded with a double change at the start of the second half, as Junaid Sait and Kagiso Malinga replaced Darrel Matsheke and Shwabule Mthokozisi.
Malinga nearly made the desired impact with 20 minutes left on the clock with an acrobatic effort in the box, but Magoola was on hand to make the save.
The Dube Birds were unable to find a way back into the contest in the latter stages of the half, as the men from KwaZulu-Natal held on for maximum points to reclaim second spot.
Richards Bay take on league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on Friday, but Swallows will take on the Brazilians first on Tuesday evening.
Here's how they lined up:
Richards Bay FC: 80. Magoola, 34. Nyauza, 35. Mabua, 12. Mathebula, 10. Memela, 5. Mthethwa, 2. Maphathe, 50. Zungu, 45. Ntsundwana, 30. Barns, 7. Msani.
Subs: 16. Jacobs, 20. Mthembu, 15. Hlongwa, 14. Majadibou, 9. Mbuthuma, 27. Makateng, 22. Mabuya, 4. Mtolo, 38. Dlamini
Swallows FC: 31. Mbanjwa, 32. Lukhubeni, 4. Allan, 28. Sasman, 23. Shwabule, 18. Damons, 39. Matsheke, 20. Musonda, 47. Wambi, 41. Khumalo.
Subs: 50. Tshabalala, 2. Sibiya, 44. Mngonyama, 49. Ngwenya, 34. Sait, 25. Patjie, 3. Isaacs, 7. L.Mtshali, 26. Malinga.
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