Jomo Cosmos beat Moroka Swallows 1-0 at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Wednesday to ensure promotion to the Absa Premiership. The hosts were playing for pride in their Premier Soccer League promotion play-off against a Cosmos side that needed a victory to leapfrog Black Leopards in the mini-table. The match started slowly and in truth it never got up to so much as a gallop in the first half with few chances between the two sides.
A 13th minute confusion between Swallows’ Serbian keeper Obren Circovic and his defence as he came out to flap at an aerial ball near the edge of the box only for his defence to make a mess of the clearance saw the ensuing scuffed shot from Cosmos midfielder Nkanyiso Madonsela go wide. After 20 minutes the Dube Birds had the lion’s share of the possession but had yet to test Cosmos keeper Sherwin Naicker. However three minutes later the hosts had their best chance with a counter attack by Lerato Chabangu and effervescent striker Siyabonga Nomvethe but the former failed to thread the ball through to the veteran striker who had a clear run in on goal.
Against the run of play Ezenkosi forward Charlton Mashumba’s karate kick stab at the ball went wide after fellow forward Wiseman Maluleka beat a defender to cross the ball in the 29th minute. Four minutes later midfielders Maluleka and Madonsela both had shots at goal consecutively that went wide of the target after Swallows failed to clear the danger in their last third. With just a few minutes to the break midfielder Chabangu was sent off after he lost control of the ball and lunged at it, in an attempt to retrieve the ball only to catch a Cosmos defender high on the shin.
In the second half there was little to write home about in what is arguably the world’s most lethargic promotional battle. Lively Swallows winger Nomandela beat the Cosmos defence with some trickery on the right side on the edge of the box before being upended. The resultant free kick was selfishly blasted over by midfielder Lantshene Phalane with his team mates expecting a cross.
Cosmos finally took advantage of having the extra man when substitute Zulu cut inside from the left to lay off a pass to the right side of the penalty area for an on-rushing Maluleka to side foot home the winner. With a goal to the good, coach Jomo Sono at his frugal best then barricaded the midfield to end the match as a contest to ensure promotion to the top flight.