Charlton Mashuma’s solitary strike helped Jomo Cosmos defeat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers slightly dominated the match on the night. However, Ezenkosi made sure they utilised the opportunity they got in the second-half.
Bucs goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo was nearly caught by Mashumba in the 10th minute. But the former’s clearance deflected off the forward’s foot and over the goal-posts.
The home side thought they had broken the deadlock five minutes later. However, the goal was immediately disallowed following a foul on Pirates midfielder Issa Sarr by Cosmos captain Frederick Nsabiyumva.
Mhlongo was finally tested in the 25th minute when Zimbabwean striker Mukamba played a good cross into the Pirates box and Briace Aka rose highest to head the ball into the keeper’s hands.
Almost immediately at the other end Bucs midfielder Thabo Rakhale’s dangerous low cross from the right was cleared off the goal line following a goal-mouth scramble in the Cosmos box.
Two minutes after the half-hour mark, Cosmos invaded Pirates’ box. However, Mashumba was denied by former South Africa under-23 international Mhlongo twice in quick succession.
The visitors were awarded a penalty with ten minutes left before the interval following a foul on Bucs striker Thamsanqa Gabuza inside the Cosmos box.
However, Ezenkosi shot-stopper Sherwyn Naicker guessed the right way and saved Bucs striker Lehlohonolo Majoro’s penalty to ensure that the two sides went into the halftime break level.
Naicker was called into action five minutes after the restart by Bucs stand-in captain Thabo Matlaba who unleashed a shot from range, but the keeper produced a great save to deny the full-back.
In the 64th minute, Bucs defender Tshepo Gumede was yellow carded for a foul on Cosmos’ veteran striker Aka and the home side were awarded a free-kick in a promising position. But Bucs cleared away an effort from the resultant set-piece.
Bucs head coach Eric Tinkler decided to pull out former Kaizer Chiefs striker Majoro for Zimbabwean centre forward Tendai Ndoro with 17 minutes left on the clock.
However, Mashumba was set through on goal in the 75th minute and the striker made no mistake after bursting into the Bucs box as he beat Mhlongo with a low shot to make it 1-0 to Cosmos.
With six minutes left on the clock, Bucs defender Ayanda Gcaba had a chance to level matters for his side from close range, but he was quickly closed down and Naicker gathered the ball.
In the end Cosmos held onto their slender lead and they emerged 1-0 winners over Pirates.