A make-shift Jomo Cosmos side lost 3-0 to Black Leopards on Sunday afternoon in Thohoyandou as both sides booked their places in the NFD Promotional play-offs.
A first half brace by Karabo Tshepe and another one by Phathutshedzo Nange shortly before the break ended Ezenkosi’s 6-game unbeaten run and gave Lidoda Duvha an unassailable advantage against a Cosmos side missing no less than six key players in this encounter.
It was always going to be a mammoth task for the visitors as the vociferous crowd at a jam-packed Thohoyandou Stadium gave their team full backing.
Ezenkosi were dealt a major blow just 13 minutes after kick off when goalkeeper King Ndlovu exited the game following a clash of heads with Leopards striker, Mwape Musonda.
The incident left both players needing medical attention, and eventually, Ndlovu had to treated in hospital while Musonda also came off.
Leopards displayed more hunger in this game as they knew only a win could guarantee a play-off spot.
In an evenly-contested second stanza of the game, Cosmos introduced 18-year-old midfielder, Kagiso Ndlovu and Tanzanian striker, Ismail Mgunda into the fray though this had little impact on the final outcome.
The result took Lidoda Duvha to 2nd on the log while Cosmos, who had already grabbed a play-off position, slipped down to 3rd in the final standings.
Both teams clash again in a fortnight with Cosmos hosting Leopards on Match Day Two of the NFD/PSL Play-offs.
The play-off contest ends on June 02.
BLACK LEOPARDS (3) 3 (Tshepe 22’ 30’ Nange 42’)
JOMO COSMOS 0
Ref: Victor Gomes
LEOPARDS: Rotshidzwa Muleka – Marks Munyai (Capt), Jean Munganga, Isaac Masia, Tsheamo Mashoene – Karabo Tshepe, Khuliso Mudau, Eden Nene, Phathutshedzo Nange (Xolani Ndlovu 74’) – Meshack Maphangule (Ivan Mahangwahaya 67’), Mwape Musonda (Joseph Mhlongo 16’).
SUBS NOT USED: Lutho Mbanjwa, Donald Makgetlwa, Morgan Shivambu, Thivhavhudzi Ndou.
COACH: Joel Masutha
COSMOS: K Ndlovu (Ramakgasha 13’) – Laqwela, Rasilingwane, Madi, Gebhardt – Haoseb (Capt), Sibeko, Makobela (Kagiso Ndlovu 79’), Mabula, Jnr Sono – Mpontshane (Ismail Mgunda 73’).
SUBS NOT USED: Zungu, Sekhibidu, M Ndlovu, Obi.
COACH: Jomo Sono
NFD/PSL PLAY OFF FIXTURE
16-05-18 BLACK LEOPARDS V ABSA 15
20-05-18 JOMO COSMOS V BLACK LEOPARDS
23-05-18 ABSA 15 V JOMO COSMOS
26-05-18 ABSA 15 V BLACK LEOPARDS
30-05-18 BLACK LEOPARDS V JOMO COSMOS
02-06-18 JOMO COSMOS V ABSA 15