Jomo Cosmos and Moroka Swallows settled for a point each when they cancelled each other out in the sweltering heat of Giyani Stadium last Sunday.
No less than three water breaks were ordered by the referee as both teams slugged it out in dry, stifling conditions.
The GladAfrica Championship game had all the trappings of a potential mini classic in view of the feverish build up on social media and on radio, but on the field it was a different ball game.
Cosmos rang three changes in their line up from the previous week’s 2-0 defeat at TS Sporting, dropping Matsilele Junior Sono, Kagiso Ndlovu, Seun Ledwaba and giving starting shirts to Sifiso “Long” Nkosi (his first official game of the season), Tumi Ngwepe and Ongelethu “Modric” Somtsewu.
After a lethargic first half of football during which chances were far and between, the teams came alive in the second stanza to the delight of fans at the half-filled arena.
Going into the game stuck at the bottom of the log, Cosmos knew the importance of securing maximum points and started out on a positive note, but finishing was their biggest undoing in a game they dominated for long spells particularly in the second half.
Swallows goalkeeper, Virgil Vries was virtually on holidays for most part of the encounter with no visible threat from Ezenkosi forwards as they were easily curtailed by opposing defenders.
The visitors played with more confidence and composure in the opening half and in the early stages of the second half but fizzled out towards the end as Cosmos forwards attacked relentlessly in an attempt to breach Swallows’ tired back line.
Within the first five minutes of the restart, Swallows should have snatched the lead when Itumeleng Shopane latched onto a pass and fired a blinder from range, but his effort ricocheted off the crossbar and back into play.
Later, Ezenkosi boss Jomo Sono introduced the trio of Seun Ledwaba, Phakamani Mngadi, and Sicelo Mkhize into the fray, and these changes seemed to bring out the fire in Cosmos as they began to dominate proceedings. They should have had the ball on the back of the net on several occasions but delightful build ups were undone by accurate finishing.
Midway through the second half, tensions flared up in the Cosmos ranks when defender Tumelo Matona was involved in a spat with midfielder Tebogo Mabula, but referee Olani Kwinda was on hand to calm the situation.
As the game progressed it was looking more like a stalemate on the cards.
However, Ezenkosi came close to breaking the deadlock in the last 10 minutes of the game including stoppage time when centre back Thabo Makhele’s header missed target by inches, but it was glaring their front men lacked ideas to finish off brilliant moves in the final third.
At the end, the goalless outcome seemed a fair result for both sides as Cosmos moved up two places to 14th while Swallows remained in 12th.
Ezenkosi have a chance to improve on their log standing when they visit league leaders Uthongathi FC early next month at Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban.
GladAfrica Championship, 27 October, 2019; Giyani Stadium
JOMO COSMOS 0
MOROKA SWALLOWS 0
Referee: Olani Kwinda
COSMOS: Buthelezi – Matona, Lebahi ©, Makhele, Hanamub – Nkosi (Ledwaba 46’), Somtsewu, Mabula, Fredericks, Ngwepe (Mngadi 61’) – Ohizu (Mkhize 74’)
SUBS NOT USED: Khoza, Sicholo, KG Ndlovu, B. Gumede.
COACH: Jomo Sono
SWALLOWS: Virgil Vries – Patrick Meso, Sipho Sibiya, Siphelele Ndlovu, Mthokozisi Shwabule – Lebohang Mokoena ©, Vuyo Mere, Tlakusani Mthethwa (Givemore Khupe 83’), Itumeleng Shopane (Moikhomotsi Thibedi 80’), Mokeri Senwamadi – Sibusiso Masina (Kagiso Malinga 63”).
SUBS NOT USED: Lutho Mbanjwa, Simphiwe Tshabalala, Broderick Burds, Refilwe Seema.
COACH: Brandon Truter