By Sports Focus Reporter
Jomo Cosmos, with two games to go, won the NFD Inland Stream on Saturday after beating Black Leopards 1-0 at a wet and slippery Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa.
Siya Nhlapo netted the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute and try as they might, Leopards just could not get an equaliser. Cosmos have 41 points and second placed University of Pretoria has 33 points, but with only two games left in the league it is impossible to catch the Ezenkosi.
Despite the heavy underfoot conditions both sides played a quick passing game. Neither could get close to goalmouth action as both defences were solid. Robert Ng’ambi pulled the strings for Leopards offence while Siya Nhlapo marshalled the Cosmos defence.
Ngambi was a marvel to watch as his well-timed passes set the speedy Leopards wingers free down the left and right, but their crosses were snuffed out by the veteran goalie Avril Phali.
Cosmos had good chances to score as well but the ageing Alton Meiring could not keep up with his younger and faster team-mates, and this cost the hosts scoring chances.
Three minutes before the break Meiring showed his invaluable experience when he picked out Nhlapo on the edge of the box. The midfielder placed his shot beyond the outstretched keeper to give his side the lead.
Leopards upped the ante after the break but Phali’s defence stood strong as Ng’ambi, once again, made things happen with this silky touches.
Nevertheless, Leopards could just not get a shot at goal while on the other end Meiring wasted another glorious chance. Meiring latched on to a long ball from Phali and slipped past a defender with neat touch but with only the keeper to beat he lost his composure and shot straight to the arms of the goalie.
Leopards came close to scoring in the dying minutes of the match but Cosmos defenders desperately cleared any ball that came in to the big box. The last five minutes was a tense affair as Cosmos defended with all their players against a tirade of attacks from the visitors.
Tuks United FC 3-0 and Leopards are now third, a point below the Pretoria side and the race for second place is on between the two.
FC AK beat Dynamos 2-1 in Giyani and Witbank spurs were held to a goalless draw by Batau FC who will drop down to the lower division next season