Jomo Cosmos played to their third successive draw in this season’s Glad Africa Championship (GAC) after being held to a thrilling 2-2 stalemate by University of Pretoria (AmaTuks) last Sunday.
A flurry of goals in the final five minutes of the gruelling encounter left ecstatic fans breathless at the Tuks Stadium with Cosmos scoring twice and Tuks grabbing a last gasp equalizer.
It was a candid statement for end to end attacking football even if the game only came alive in the final quarter.
Shortly after Tumelo Matona’s splendid goal had pulled Cosmos level on 85 minutes, substitute Sicelo Mkhize pounced on a rebound to put Ezenkosi in the lead. But just when it seemed the visitors were running away with all three points, a defensive error by Thabo Makhele allowed Dlala to restore parity and give Tuks a share of the spoils.
Following a slow start by both sides that saw very few scoring opportunities on show, the hosts eventually broke the deadlock on 22 minutes when Nqobeko Dlamini took advantage of a poor clearance by Tumelo Matona to fire past Cosmos goalkeeper, Melusi Buthelezi.
Cosmos responded well crafting their way through the midfield quartet of skipper Ange Lebahi, Tebogo Mabula, Seun Ledwaba, and Junior Sono but could not find a way past the Tuks backline as strikers Chijioke Omeke and debutant Quentin Debouto were easily contained.
Tuks held on to their narrow lead at the break but had their work cut out from the hour mark after the Cosmos bench rang changes that saw Tumi Ngwepe, Moses Mokasi and Sicelo Mkhize coming in to add bite to the attack.
With only five minutes left of regulation time, Ezenkosi’s efforts finally paid off when overlapping centre back Tumelo Matona slammed the ball home from close range despite goalkeeper Clive Gumede getting a fist on to it.
Then shortly before stoppage time, Mkhize finished off a rebound to put Cosmos in front for the first time in the game.
However, Ezenkosi fans’ wild celebrations was cut short in the dying moments of stoppage time when Athenkosi Dlala beat the offside trap and duly punished a defensive blunder by Thabo Makhele.
The result left Cosmos in 10th position on the log with three points in as many matches while Tuks are 4th with five points from same number of matches.
UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA (1) 2 (Dlamini 22’ Dlala 90+2)
JOMO COSMOS (0) 2 (Matona 85’ Mkhize 89’)
Referee: Cheslyn Plaatjies
AMATUKS: Clive Gumede – Claudio De Almeida, John Tshabalala, Katleho Mohamme, Luvolwethu Mpeta – Banele Sibisi (Thabang Chuene 87’), Nqobeko Dlamini (Clifford Ngobeni 73’), Athenkosi Dlala, Siphamandla Mntambo – Collins Mbesuma (Pogiso Mahlangu 66’), Samuel Julies.
SUBS NOT USED: Meshack Radebe, Sphamandla Milio, Siphemba Nzuza, Dlozi Ndaba.
COACH: Zipho Dlangalala
COSMOS: Buthelezi – Tshangane, Matona, Makhele, Tshawe – Lebahi ©, Mabula, Ledwaba, Jnr Sono (Mkhize 82’) – Debouto (Mokasi 82’), Omeke (Ngwepe 63’).
SUBS NOT USED: Khoza, Ndlovu, B. Gumede, Moletshe.
COACH: Jomo Sono