Jomo Cosmos are still searching for their first win of the GladAfrica Championship (GAC) campaign after going down 2-1 to Royal AM (playing under the banner of Real Kings FC), at Dobsonville Stadium last Sunday.
A late strike by substitute Sicelo Mkhize proved just a consolation for Ezenkosi as they lost for the first time in four games following previous draws away to TS Galaxy, Tshakhuma TM and University of Pretoria.
Ezenkosi were left to rue several missed opportunities in a game they dominated for long spells but could not transform into goals.
Cosmos’ lone striker Quentin Debouto was a torn in the flesh of the visitors as he combined well with midfielders Ange Lebahi, Moses Mokasi, Tumi Ngwepe and Tebogo Mabula but finishing in the final third was lacking.
Against the run of play however, Real Kings grabbed the lead after just 10 minutes when Levy Mashlane punished poor defending at the Cosmos rear to beat goalkeeper Buti Khoza and put Kings in the driving seat.
Ezenkosi responded positively, probing deep into their opponents’ half and creating several anxious moments but yet again, they lacked the killer bite to inflict any damage on Kings’ defence, let alone beat goalkeeper Tsebolwazi Tsotetsi, who remained calm and calculated in spite of the barrage of onslaughts.
Midway through the second stanza, the Cosmos bench made a substitution that saw Wandile Sicholo marking his Ezenkosi debut while Sicelo Mkhize and Nigerian striker Chijioke Omeke replaced Moses Mokasi and Tumi Ngwepe in a desperate move to grab an equalizer.
But that wasn’t to be as Kings doubled their advantage moments later when a clinical finish by Edward Manqele put Cosmos to the sword at 2-0 down.
Subsequently, the hosts seemed to come alive with a wave of attacking play that confined Kings to their own half, but luck seemed to desert them on numerous occasions.
Hardworking midfielder, Tebogo Mabula saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Tsotetsi and soon after, captain Lebahi came close to reducing the deficit when his low shot from outside the box beat Tsotetsi but bounced off the woodwork.
Then just before the end of regulation time, Ezenkosi’s attacking spree finally paid off when Sicelo Mkhize latched on to Tumelo Matona’s pull out to give Cosmos a lifeline at 2-1.
However, the visitors hung on to their narrow lead in stoppage time to claim maximum points.
Cosmos’ next fixture in the GladAfrica Championship comes up in a fortnight against Richards Bay FC at Ezenkosi’s new home ground in Giyani.
GladAfrica Championship, MatchDay4, 15 September, 2019; Dobsonville Stadium
JOMO COSMOS (0) 1 (S. Mkhize 89’)
REAL KINGS F.C. (1) 2 (Mashlane 10’ Manqele 76’)
Referee: Skhumbuso Gasa
COSMOS: Buti Khoza – Tshangane, Matona, Makhele, Tshawe – Lebahi ©, Mabula, Mokasi (S. Mkhize 60’), B. Gumede (Wandile Sicholo 75’), Ngwepe (Omeke 75’) – Debouto
SUBS NOT USED: Hilary Nyathi, Ndlovu, Ongelethu Somtsewu, Ledwaba.
COACH: Jomo Sono
REAL KINGS: Tsebolwazi Tsotetsi – Sabata Masebe, Tshepo Mabua, Bokang Tlhone, Lesego Manganyi, Jrffrey Dlamini (Zukile Mkhize 41’), Sonke Ntuli, levy Mashlane, Mbulelo Wambi, Sifundo Sibiya (Luvuyo Phewa 72’), Edward Manqele (Moeketsi Sekola 80’).
SUBS NOT USED: Sabelo Nkomo, Bongumusa Nkosi, Diego Brown, Siphesihle Sangweni.
COACH: Joel Masutha