Jomo Cosmos started their Giyani Stadium home adventure on a wrong footing when they went down to Richards Bay last Sunday.
Bayzel Goldstone’s solitary strike midway through the second stanza made all the difference in a game that saw Ezenkosi squandering numerous scoring opportunities in both halves.
Despite giving starting shirts to birthday boy Peter “Kuru” Molete (his first official game for Ezenkosi), winger Sicelo Mkhize and midfielder Wandile Sicholo, Jomo Sono’s men never seemed to get it right in the hot, intimidating atmosphere of Giyani Stadium.
It’s the second successive loss suffered by Cosmos in a space of two weeks following their 1-2 defeat by Real Kings in Dobsonville on September 15. By implication, the team is still searching for its first victory in the GladAfrica Championship after five matches.
Cosmos went into Sunday’s game brimming with confidence particularly after adopting Giyani Stadium as home ground and their ecstatic fans were looking forward to claiming their first win of the season.
But from the blast of referee Tinyiko Hlungwani’s whistle, it was apparent that the home side was going to struggle. From an uncoordinated defence and midfield to the attack where front men Chijioke Omeke and Sicelo Mkhize seemed to be off-form, victory never looked to be on the cards.
However, things could have been different within the first 10 minutes if Seun Ledwaba had taken full advantage of a chance, but the midfielder shot tamely at the waiting hands of goalkeeper Dumisani Msibi.
At the other end, the visitors launched their own foray as Melusi Buthelezi was called to action, the youngster saving a point blank free kick to deny Veluyeke Zulu.
Buthelezi made another crucial save moments later to stop a brilliant shot by Siyabonga Vilane.
Cosmos made half-hearted goal-bound moves that saw Sicholo and Omeke coming close but Msibi and his back line were up to the task.
Just before half time, the visitors nearly snatched the lead after Buthelezi was beaten but Thabo Makhele cleared off the goal line to concede a corner kick.
Soon after, Thabo Maphakisa should have broken the deadlock but missed target with Buthelezi at his mercy.
Both teams went into the break still deadlocked at 0-0 but the second stanza came alive in the opening minutes when Tebogo Mabula found space at the edge of the box but inexplicably fired wide.
The misses continued up until midway through the half when both teams rang changes, and it was the visitors who had the upper hand as Goldstone finished off a good pull out from Maphakisa, giving Buthelezi no chance.
Moments later, substitute Clint Fredericks (also making his debut for Cosmos), should have restored parity but the winger saw his fierce free kick bouncing off the crossbar and out of play.
Tumelo Matona also went close to tying the score on two occasions but he missed the target.
The result took Richards Bay to second spot on the GAC log with 11 points in five matches, while Cosmos slipped down to 14th on 3 points from a similar number of matches.
28 September, 2019; GladAfrica Championship MatchDay5, Giyani Stadium
JOMO COSMOS 0
RICHARDS BAY (0) 1 (Goldstone 68’)
Ref: Tinyiko Hlungwani
COSMOS: Buthelezi – Tshangane, Matona, Makhele, Peter Molete – Lebahi ©, Mabula, Ledwaba, Sicholo (B. Gumede 73’), Mkhize (Kgope 63’) – Omeke (Clint Fredericks 67’).
SUBS NOT USED: Khoza, Ndlovu, Ongelethu Somtsewu, Phakamani Mngadi.
COACH: Jomo Sono
RICHARDS BAY: Dumisani Msibi – Katleho Maphathe, Simphiwe Mcineka, Veluyeke Zulu, Tony Zwane – Bafana Dlamini, Sandile Kubeka, Bayzel Goldstone, Zaphaniah Mbokoma (Khotso Malope 61’) – Siyabonga Vilane (Sibusiso Msomi 82’), Thabo Maphakisa (Devon Saal 65’).
SUBS NOT USED: Andile Mbanjwa, Lindokuhle Shange, Sabelo Mkhwanazi, Yurigg Conwood.
COACH: Sello Ntuli
BOOKED: Matona, Saal.