There was little to cheer as Jomo Cosmos and Mbombela United ended their GladAfrica Championship fixture on a goalless note in Potchefstroom, North West last Sunday.
Mixed feelings filled the stands of Olen Park Stadium as Cosmos returned to the arena that spelt doom for their 2015-2016 Absa Premier League campaign.
Regardless of that fact though, a majority of their fans expected a positive outcome from this game following a recent run of poor results.
But that wasn’t to be as players huffed and puffed for the entire game without a goal to show for their efforts. Cosmos thus head into the international break with only a win in 10 league games so far.
Highlight of Sunday’s encounter were two red cards brandished by referee Tshidiso Mkhwanazi, one in each half, as both teams finished the fiercely-contested game with 10 men apiece.
First it was Mbombela midfielder, Lehlohonolo Mohlabai who got the referee’s wrong end of the stick in the 33rd minute for a dangerous, two-footed lunge on a Cosmos player.
Five minutes into the second half, Ezenkosi right back, Nkululeko Tshangane was also given his marching orders for a reckless challenge. It was Tshangane’s second bookable offence and that could have been the turning point for either side.
The opening half got off to a frantic start as Cosmos showed desire to overcome their recent poor form and carve out some sort of opening, but it was the visitors who proved to be more adventurous upfront as Captain Felix Badenhorst led his charges against Ezenkosi’s compact back line of Tshangane, Thabo Makhele, Tumelo Matona and Riaan Hanamub.
Cosmos bench brought young attacking midfielder Wandile Sicholo back to the starting XI pairing with Tumi Ngwepe, and pushed Captain Ange Lebahi to a holding role as Nkululeko Tshangane returned to familiar territory at right back.
However, these changes didn’t seem to bring out the fire Ezenkosi fans have been craving, and goal scoring chances were almost non-existent in the opening half hour as lone striker, Chibuike “Victor” Ohizu hardly got past his markers and was often left isolated.
Ohizu would later come off for Quentin Debouto late in the second stanza, but besides a few half chances at goal, the striker was also not up to the task as Cosmos tried in vain to break the deadlock.
Sunday’s result left Ezenkosi at 15th on the log with eight points in 10 games, while Mbombela are 14 with only a point separating the sides.
Action resumes after Fifa’s international break with Cosmos hosting Royal Eagles at Olen Park on 20 November.
10 November, 2019; GladAfrica Championship, Olen Park Stadium
JOMO COSMOS 0
MBOMBELA UNITED 0
Referee: Tshidiso Mkhwanazi
COSMOS: Buthelezi – Tshangane, Matona, Makhele, Hanamub – Lebahi ©, Mabula, Sicholo, Ngwepe (Kgope 72’), Fredericks (Mkhize 54’) – Ohizu (Debouto 72’).
SUBS NOT USED: Khoza, B. Gumede, KG Ndlovu, Somtsewu.
COACH: Jomo Sono
MBOMBELA: Wensten Van Der Linde – Linda Bhengu, Mxolisi Khoza, Njabulo Ndlovu (Jabulani Dhladhla 46’), Dingaan Maphosa – Felix Badenhorst ©, Innocent Mphahleni, Lehlohonolo Mohlabai, Wandile Mabuza, Thato Mmotong – Kingston Nkhatha (Sabelo Ndzinisa 71’).
SUBS NOT USED: Celi Ndwandwe, Senzo Gumede, Lucky Nguzana, Sandile Nyundu, Mkhululi Ncube.
COACH: Siyabonga Bhembe
SENT OFF: Mohlabai, Tshangane