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Polokwane – A brace from Jomo Cosmos striker Phethego Maebela handed the National First Division outfit a 2-0 victory over Magesi FC in their Nedbank Cup first-round fixture at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the two-goal cushion, Cosmos were made to work for their victory and at times looked under threat from their third division opponents, who strung together several attacking movements but conceded easily, bowing out of the knockout competition at the first hurdle.
Cosmos showed their dominance from the first whistle and broke the deadlock a mere 90 seconds into the contest through Maebela, who slotted home past Magesi goalkeeper Noko Mapoulo, after the striker received an accurate pass across the goalmouth from Mbongeni Gumede, leaving the defence stranded and Mapoulo helpless.
Despite the early opener, neither side looked threatening up front as chances were few and far between.
The hosts were in with their best chance 25 minutes into the match, when Alfred Laka forced a superb save from Cosmos goalkeeper Buti Khosa, who rushed out of his area and made a good stop above his head as he met Laka on the edge of the box. The ball fell kindly for Johannes Manamela, who had an empty net to aim at, but he skied his effort, sending it high and wide of the mark.
Cosmos were on the hunt for their second and came close five minutes later through Thabang Monare, but he smashed his attempt into the crossbar, after making an intelligent run behind the Magesi defensive line, receiving a pinpoint ball over the top from Maebela.
Donald Mokondelela made Khosa work again shortly after, shaping a well-taken free-kick from the edge of the area, but saw his curled attempt tipped over by the keeper, who was alert to the danger.
Magesi came out into the second period looking to equalise after a solid first-half display that started poorly, while Cosmos continued to pressurise their unfancied opponents.
Cosmos struck the crossbar for a second time in the match when Myron Shongwe made a darting run into the Magesi area and got his strike away, but was denied by the woodwork, leaving the hosts withering under the continued pressure from Jomo Sono's side.
That pressure eventually told as Cosmos grabbed their second of the game through Maebela, extending his tally for the day from a corner, which the attacker headed powerfully toward goal, beating Mapoulo to double his side's advantage. – Sapa