JOMO Cosmos are still awaiting their first league win of the season but they had no problem in dispatching Bloemfontein Celtic 3-0 in their Telkom Knockout last-16 match at Sinaba Stadium on the East Rand on Wednesday evening.
Goals from Ousmane Berthe, Tshidiso Tukane and Katlego Loke saw Ezenkosi rack up a comprehensive win, and they join Santos, Orlando Pirates, Moroka Swallows, Bidvest Wits, Ajax Cape Town, Platinum Stars and Golden Arrows in Thursday’s quarterfinal draw.
Cosmos took an early lead when defender Ousmane Berthe scored direct from a well-taken free kick in just the sixth minute, curling a shot over the defensive wall and beyond the reach of Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb.
Twenty minutes later Phunya Sele Sele came close to scoring an equaliser — midfielder Letladi Madubanya let fly from long range and forced Avril Phali into a fine save, as the Ezenkosi ‘keeper palmed the ball onto the post before collecting the rebound.
With just over ten minutes of the first half to be played Celtic were forced into an unscheduled substitution, as Clifford Mulenga came off the bench to replace the injured Moses Spandeel. Yet a Mulenga corner kick within a minute of his introduction saw Thabo Nthethe head just wide of the target.
The hosts doubled their advantage late in the half, with some poor defending from Celtic allowing Katlego Loke to turn home a goal-bound shot from Tshidiso Tukane.
The stadium announcer credited the goal to Tukane but it did appear as if Loke got a touch before the ball crossed the goal line.
Celtic coach Clinton Larsen made two attacking tactical changes early in the second half, sending on attacking midfielders Cecil Oersen and Lerato Manzine in place of Johannes Motlhaping and Thokozani Mshengu respectively.
The visitors’ positive initiatives almost paid quick dividends, but Mulenga put a snap shot just over the crossbar on 62 minutes.
Celtic needed a quick goal to reignite their hopes but they simply lacked the necessary precision up front to trouble Phali and his back four.
And they soon found themselves three goals down, as Loke cracked home a low drive after some fine set-up play from Bamuza Sono. With the score at 3-0, Ezenkosi had effectively killed off the game and secured their first win of the season.
Jomo Cosmos (2) 3 (Berthe 6’, Tukane 43’, Loke 65’)
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Cosmos: Phali; Kobola, Berthe, Tshilo, Nonyane, Pila, Sono (Ngwerume 73’), S. Nhlapo, Tukane, Loke (Rusike 74’), Nontshinga (Dondo 71’)
Celtic: Tignyemb; Moleko, Nthethe, Motlhaping (Oersen 52’), Mahoa, Mshengu (Manzine 60’), Mkhwanazi, Madubanya, Mongala, Spandeel (Mulenga 35’), Mofokeng-Backpagepix