Jomo Cosmos will be one of the teams that will play in the Nedbank Cup last-16 after pulling off a famous 1-0 win over Baroka FC in the last-32 on Tuesday night.
The odds favoured Baroka FC, especially after recently pulling off some giant-killing performances in their march to win the latest domestic competition, the Telkom Knockout.
But with this tournament widely known for its “David vs Goliath” script, Cosmos were looking to cause another major upset in this opening round – and subsequently become the sixth NFD side from the eight that qualified to progress to the last-16.
And their goal in half-an-hour goal of the first half from Inky Masuku ensured that they did just that as they joined their lower-division compatriots Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC, Cape Umoya, Richards Bay, Witbank Spurs and Mbombela United in the last-16 of South Africa’s premier club knockout competition.
The only way that Ezenkosi knew that they’d get the chance to play their normal game was taking the game to the home side and going in search of an early lead.
In that attempt, they set free the quick and tricky feet of youngster Lehlogonolo Kekana down the right wing to tire the opposition’s defence.
Kekana aced his role to the tee as he was troublesome for Bakgaga’s defence, needing at least two defenders to close him down whenever he was in possession of the ball.
That indeed worked like a charm, as it opened up spaces in Bakgaga’s defence, while the rest of Cosmos’ front men were unmarked in anticipation.
Ezenkosi’s strategy would indeed pay off as bulky striker Chibuike Ohizu did well to maintain his composure, before setting up an unmarked Masuku for an easy tap-in.
The visitors should have taken a healthy lead into the interval, only to be denied by some good goalkeeping from Elvis Chipezeze.
Bakgaga, who’ll be disappointed with the outcome, started the second stanza on the front foot.
But they had to take their shots from long-range as Ezenkosi had sat back to absorb the pressure from their older brothers.
Even when they got a clear-cut chance, Ezenkosi shot-stopper Mwenya Chibwe did well to deny striker Tebogo Sodi in a one-on-one duel.
Cosmos hung on for their first win in five matches – after losing their last four in the league.
On the other hand, this could be a blessing in disguise for coach Wedson Nyirenda’s troops as they’ll get more time to focus on improving their chances of survival as they languish in the bottom of the log standings.
The last-16 draw will be conducted on Thursday.