Maritzburg send Jomo Cosmos down

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At 5pm, Cosmos, owned by the legendary Jomo Sono, were relegated back to the National First Division.

A ruling handed down by a PSL arbitrator in a case involving Cosmos fielding an improperly registered player in goalkeeper Thabo Modiba in an earlier game this season had fueled this game.

Ezenkosi were expected to be docked a minimum of three points as punishment, but were instead fined R200 000, with the player in question suspended for nine matches, including this crucial fixture that would determine their fate.

Maritzburg chairman Farook Kadodia met that outcome with disgust, but he proceeded to encourage his men to fight for their PSL status on the pitch rather than in the boardroom.

One would call this poetic justice as the Team of Choice fought to come back from a goal down to edge this clash with an emphatic 3-1 scoreline.

Cosmos had been in control earlier on, the stunning long-range strike from Mntambo evidence of their dominance.

As has been the case throughout the season, Cosmos really had just that once opportunity, while their opponents fluffed chance after chance and coach Ernst Middendorp went into the half-time break in disbelief.

It was difficult to see how they would get the much-needed equaliser to have a fighting chance.

Whatever Middendorp said in the dressing room seemed to inspire them to give it their all.

The coach himself was in a state of panic and it showed when he made a tactical substitution as early as the 35th minute by replacing defender Tamsanqa Teyise with midfielder Gregory Maasdorp.

It was only shortly after the break that their fortunes soon changed. Mokate, another man who came off the bench, got things started with a header after Maritzburg had put Cosmos under enormous pressure, forcing mistakes from Cosmos back four.

There were penalty shouts, dramatic scenes from both benches and a group of travelling supporters that were quite literally losing their heads.

Maritzburg might have survived the chop, but they most certainly will not be sparred the PSL’s wrath following the behaviour of their fans at this venue.

But in the end, the team that wanted it the most were the Team of Choice.

Rusike has been a culprit in many of their drawn games this season, but stepped up when they needed him the most. The two goals he scored were crucial in ensuring they step up for another season.

It is now another long road for Cosmos, who many felt were thrown a lifeline following the ruling on Friday as they escaped a punishment that would have almost certainly relegated them.

They did not take advantage of the situation and will now prepare for life in the doldrums.

Result:

Jomo Cosmos (1) 1

Mntambo 28

Maritzburg United (0) 3

Mokate 81, Rusike 86, 90+

– The Sunday Independent

Original source: Maritzburg send Jomo Cosmos down

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