Cosmos defence holds strong

2009-10-22 00:00

MARITZBURG United huffed and puffed, but could not blow last-placed Jomo Cosmos down in their 1-1 Premier Soccer League draw at Woodburn Stadium last night.

Jomo Sono’s Cosmos are not as bad a team as their log position suggests and they fought hard to contain a United side who certainly can’t be accused of a lack of effort at trying to win this home game.

But the PMB team’s endeavours were in vain and Cosmos’s five-man defence held on for what would have been a morale-boosting away draw for the PSL newcomers.

Of some concern to Maritzburg is that their running off the ball, passing and support in midfield are not what they were at the beginning of the season. While this aspect improved as the game progressed, the home side still struggled to produce a defining moment in the final third that could have killed off the game.

United had been hoping for a more polished, tighter performance from their 5-1 home defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns and 2-0 away loss to Moroka Swallows, but the first half was not promising. The midfield again had little structure and there was scant evidence of the snappy close-passing the team demonstrated early in the season.

The defence was too loose again too, such as when Cosmos opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Koena Mathopa was allowed to run between defenders Byrone Hendricks and Bageta Dikilu to latch on to wing-back Ayo Olufawemi’s crossfield pass from the left and finish past goalkeeper Tashrique Goldman, who committed early.

But the home team did start to get a foothold on the game towards the end of the half as Fadlu Davids slipped after being put through on goal, but recovered to tee up Bekha Phakathi, whose shot was parried by Cosmos ’keeper Avril Phali.

The resultant corner was poorly cleared and Noah Chivuta headed back into the area. Byron Hendricks side-footed from the right side to the left where Rudolf Bester played the ball back in and Davids, with his back to goal, again teed up, this time for Brice Aka to blast in a 37th-minute equaliser for his first goal of the season.

United began the second half mostly utilising the boot of captain Bageta Dikilu from central defence to go route one. Slowly though, as the home team settled and grew in confidence, and following the introduction of Kulegani Madondo and Collen Zimba from the bench, they began to find something like the passing rhythm they are capable of.

After Fadlu Davids headed straight at Phali early in the half, United’s probing football saw them engineer a clear opening in the 75th minute when Collen Zimba was found free on the right, but skewed his shot wide across goal.

Goldman kept his side in the game with two superb saves in the 80th minute, from Mathopa volleying Olufawemi’s cross and then when Elhadji Samb was free in the area.

With two minutes left Bester missed a sitter with a free header over the bar from Felix Obada’s cross.

In Johannesburg, Orlando Pirates last night allowed their recent domination of the Premier League championship race to evaporate in a crushing 3-0 defeat against a disciplined and dedicated SuperSport United at Atteridgeville’s Super Stadium.

What is more, the two-time defending champions played for more than half the game with 10 men after the sending off of Tsietsie Mohoa shortly before the interval, with the score already 1-0 in their favour as a result of the first of Daine Klate’s precious brace of goals.

It was the depleted SuperSport who scored two further goals through a Klate penalty and substitute Dario Monteiro’s screaming 25-metre drive in the 89th minute. — Sapa.

Last night: Wits University 0 Mpumalanga Black Aces 1, Bloemfontein Celtic 0 Mamelodi Sundowns 2, Kaizer Chiefs 1 Moroka Swallows 2, Maritzburg United 1 Jomo Cosmos 1, Santos 2 Free State Stars 2, SuperSport United 3 Orlando Pirates 0

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