Phali's heroics save the day for Cosmos

Avril Phali was the hero on the day when he saved two penalties in the shootout to hand Jomo Cosmos a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Platinum Stars in a Nedbank Cup Last 16 match.

The match had been deadlocked at 1-1 when Patrick Malokase scored a free-kick in extra time to hand Platinum Stars the lead before El-Hadji Samb equalised for Cosmos in the dying seconds of the game played at the Sinaba Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In the fourth minute Cosmos’ Themba Mkhwanazi hit a curling shot with his left foot on the right side of the pitch which looked destined for the top corner, but Stars keeper Jackson Mabokgwane parried the ball for a corner-kick.

In the seventh minute Bumuza Sono realised a perfect through pass for Alton Meireng who outran three Stars defenders, but when the veteran striker was one-on-one with Mabokgwane he failed to score.

In the 28th minute another veteran striker had a chance to score. Stars’ Henrico Botes received a cross from the left wing, he rose high to meet the ball with his head, but saw his header from six-yards out tipped over the cross bar by Cosmos keeper Avril Phali.

In an enterprising move going forward on the left wing from Thuso Phala and Sibusiso Msomi for Stars, Msomi cut in from the left side and unleashed a right footed shot which hit the cross bar in the 30th minute.

Eight minutes after the halftime break, Cosmos should have been scord when Mathew Risuke missed with a diving header from six-yards out.

Platinum Stars could have won it in the 88th minute when substitute Malokase failed to connect with right wing cross and couldn’t capitalise in the six-yard box when any touch on the ball would have sent the ball into the back of the net.

The teams needed extra time to settle this cup match.

Seven minutes into extra-time Stars earned a free-kick outside the box when a Cosmos defender handled the ball outside the box.

Malokase then stepped up and produced a curling shot from the outside left side of the box that beat an outstretching Phali to make it 1-0 to Dikwena.

Once again Cosmos missed another chance to score, Meireng received a good cross from the left wing from Katlego Loke, but he missed the ball when the Stars keeper was at his mercy in the 105th minute of the match.

When the match looked to be won by Stars, Cosmos gained a late equaliser in the dying seconds when Samb benefitted from a miscue and then scored from close range in the 121st minute to take the match into the dreaded penalty shootout.

Phali was the hero as he saved Mduduzi Nyanda and Elias Ngwepe’s penalties to hand Cosmos a 4-3 shootout win.

Jomo Cosmos (0)1 (Samb 121’)

Platinum Stars (0)1 (Malokase 97’)

Teams:

Jomo Cosmos: A Phali, T Shabalala, G Shitiolo (Sello Matete 32’), T Tukane, T Mkhwanazi, B Sono (L Pila 52’), M Rusike, El-Hadji Samb, M Haskins, M Rusike (K Loke 86’), A Meireng

Platinum Stars: J Mabokgwane, M Sambu, V Mere, I Mkhabela (P Malokase 65’), S Nkosi, T Phala (N Nyauza 105’), S Msomi, R Ng'ambi, E Ngwepe, L Mbatha, H Botes