Jomo Cosmos beat Bidvest Wits

Jomo Cosmos beat Bidvest Wits

Bidvest Wits could not batter their way past a fiery Jomo Cosmos by the end of extra time, then succumbed 5-4 in the penalty shootout as Ezenkosi progressed into the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals in Tuesday night’s last-16 match at Tsakane Stadium.

Linda Mntambo had put Cosmos ahead in the third minute of first-half injury time, with Mogakolodi Ngele equalising for Wits in the 65th.

It is easy to see why these games away at fired up, lower league teams – especially a competent, well-coached First Division side like Cosmos – can be so hard even for a strong PSL team like Wits to contend with.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt put out a team of second-stringers that on player-for-player quality looked like they could comfortably finish in the top eight in the PSL.

Players with experience and trophies behind their names like Moeneeb Josephs, Siboniso Gaxa, Bongani Khumalo, Phumlani Ntshangase, Sifiso Myeni, Ngele and Cuthbert Malajila.

But Cosmos were not daunted, and took the game to their more esteemed visitors. In characteristic Ezenkosi style, in defence Jomo Sono’s team clattered down any Wits player who came close.

Cosmos’s 1-0 lead at the break was fitting as they had the better of the first half.

Ezenkosi had the early half-chances such as when Tebogo Makobela turned a near-post header from Matsilele Sono’s corner wide.

At the other end Wits came even closer when Ngele crossed to find Malajila free 12 metres out, who somehow missed with his head.

READ  Floyd Mayweather floors Tenshin Nasukawa three times to win exhibition in first round

Three minutes into injury time Sono – son of Cosmos’ owner and coach – produced a piece of skill his dad might have been proud of to flick free of Myeni on the left and set off on a mazy run that ended with Wiseman Maluleke having a shot blocked. Linda Mntambo swept the rebound past a stranded Josephs.

Cosmos would always have to weather a storm coming out of the change-rooms, especially with Hunt introducing Daine Klate and Phakamani Mahlambi from the bench. Ezenkosi did that well for the better part of 20 minutes, desperate lunges keeping Wits at bay.

But something had to give as, from Klate’s corner, Ngele got up to head past goalkeeper Lesego Modiba.

Wits, though, had to use all their trademark aggressive muscle to win the ball and keep themselves in Cosmos’s half, still finding few paths open to penetrate the final third.

At the start of extra time Mahlambi skipped down the right but shot high.

Cosmos midfielder Denzil Haoseb’s free-kick from 37 metres flew past the wall, forcing a diving save from Josephs.

Ngele saw his 10-metre low strike saved by the legs of Modiba.

But this bruising encounter would have no winner from normal play, especially after Cosmos substitute Nkanyiso Madonsela’s breakaway ended with a save by Josephs in the dying second.

In the shootout, for Cosmos, Ange Lebahi, Ananias Gebhardt, Thato Lingwati, Haoseb and Madonsela scored. Sono’s kick was saved by Josephs, and Tebogo Makobela missed.

For Wits, Mahlambi, Myeni, Ntshangase, Buhle Mhkwanazi scored. Malajila’s shot was stopped by Modiba, Elias Pelembe struck the upright and Sifiso Hlanti’s final kick of the game was saved by Modiba.

READ  Bobby Motaung provides update on Kaizer Chiefs signing Andriamirado 'Dax' Andrianarimanana

Source :  Sowetanlive