Port Elizabeth - A goal seven minutes from time by Lehlohonolo Majoro saved Vladimir Vermezovic his blushes in his 100th game in charge of Kaizer Chiefs after coming from a goal behind to draw 1-1 with Jomo Cosmos in an Absa Premiership match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday night.
Chiefs started brightly and there seemed to be no signs of rustiness after a two month lay-off when they tested the Cosmos keeper as early as the ninth minute.
Tlou Molekwane produced a good cross from the right and Bernard Parker did brilliantly to rise above his marker to make a powerful header on goal from about ten-yards out. Avril Phali, though, was up to the challenge with a fantastic save, flinging himself to the right to tip the effort over the crossbar.
The Amakhosi came close again five minutes later after some poor defending from Cosmos at a corner-kick resulted in a goalmouth scramble, which concluded with Dominic Isaacs toe-poking the ball onto the crossbar from six-yards out.
The Phefeni Glamour Boys were at it again in the 20th minute when Keegan Ritchie tested the Cosmos keeper from a 25-yard free-kick. The Amakhosi left-back superbly curled the ball around the defensive wall, but again Phali responded with a magnificent save, diving full stretch to his left to palm the ball over the crossbar.
Following those three scares Cosmos decided to pack the midfield and defend in their numbers, throwing all 11 players behind the ball when Chiefs attacked.
Growing seemingly frustrated the Amakhosi pushed players forward more and more and were in danger of leaving themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack, but whenever Cosmos tried to break out they were quickly contained by the best defence in the league.
Cosmos, however, did manage to create one chance on goal on the break in the 38th minute when a slip by Isaacs allowed Matthew Rusike through on goal, but he squandered the chance firing the ball straight at Itumeleng Khune from ten-yards out.
Chiefs definitely had the better of the first 45 minutes, but nonetheless it was the same old problem for Vladimir Vermezovic and his men as they could not find the back of the net, and the half ended 0-0.
The start of the second 45 saw Chiefs start brightly yet again, but despite all their pressure on the Cosmos goal, they couldn’t find the right pass to unlock the defence and create a decent goal scoring opportunity.
Instead, the Amakhosi had to try their luck from set-pieces, and very similar to the first half attempt by Ritchie, he again called Phali into action in the 56th minute with another 25-yard free-kick, but again Phali produced a wonderful save to deny him.
Parker came within inches of scoring the game’s opening goal in the 69th minute when he saw his 20-yard volley skim the wrong side of the crossbar with the keeper well beaten.
Then, in the 75th minute and against the run of play, Cosmos took the lead. A sublime ball was played behind the Chiefs defence for Mark Haskins to run onto and he made no mistake side-footing the ball past Khune from six-yards out, 1-0.
Chiefs, though, quickly hit back through Lehlohonolo Majoro eight minutes later when he too broke the off-side trap and found himself in a one-on-one situation with the keeper. The striker showed his composure, though, and fired the ball past a stranded Phali, 1-1.
That set up a tense final couple of minutes as Chiefs went in search of the winner while Cosmos tried to hang onto the draw.
In the end the game ended all square and Vermezovic was clearly unhappy with the point.
Jomo Cosmos (0) 1 (Haskins 75’)
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Majoro 83’)
Cosmos: Phali - Samb, Shitolo, Appiah, Tomanyane - Rusike, Sono, Tukane (Mkwanazi 67’), Nhlapo, Haskins – Nontshinga (Meiring 81’)
Chiefs: Khune - Molekwane, Zvasiya, Isaacs, Ritchie - Nengomasha, Masango, Dladla (Katsande 80’), Lebese (Majoro 59’) - Parker, Ngcobo (L. Khune 76’)