Jomo Cosmos are the new SAA Supa 8 champions after they defeated Moroka Swallows 3-2 in an entertaining final at King's Park Stadium in Durban on Sunday afternoon.
Swallows got the match off to a dream start when they opened the scoring in the very first minute.
From a quickly taken free-kick the ball was played out wide to Lucas Sebona on the right, who whipped in an inch perfect cross onto the head of Namibian international George Hummel, whose powerful downward header gave Cosmos keeper Avril Phaili no chance.
The match lived up to it's billing as a physical encounter and both Kerryn Jordan of Swallows and Teboho Mokoena received yellow cards in the opening 15 minutes.
Dennis Lota was failrly quiet during this period, but had a good chance to increase the lead for his team when he received the ball from Jordan on the edge of the box, only to shoot wide.
Cosmos' first scoring opportunity of note fell to Mokoena in the 20th minute, who found himself with space to shoot after a direct run through the middle of the Bird's defence, but his tame shot was easily dealt with by Swallows keeper Greg Etafia.
Cosmos then managed to grab an equaliser in the 28th minute through an unlikely source- defender Andrew Rabutla.
The goal followed a period of pressure from Jomo Sono's men, who earnt themselves two corners in quick succesion.
The second corner found "Jaws Of Life" inside the box, and the hard man did well to squeeze his left-footed shot through a crowded penalty area to beat Etafia.
The goal sparked new life into the Ezenkhosi, who had a excellent chance to take the lead when Russel Mwafulirwa only had Etafia to beat, but the Malawian was unable to keep his shot under the crossbar as Etafia rushed off his line.
Cosmos striker Tico Tico Bucuane then had a great chance to score when some neat build-up work in the 40th minute allowed the captain a run into the box, but Etafia did well to push his shot over the bar.
Sono's team were now dominating and the Bird's defence was starting too look shaky and Bucuane was again wasteful when he was put clean through on goal.
Gavin Hunt would no doubt have been happy to hear the half-time whistle blow as it would give him the chance to allow his team to re-group.
The first goal scoring chance of the second half fell to Swallows striker Kerryn Jordan, who did well to turn a defender on the edge of the Cosmos box to make space for a strike. Unfortunately for the former Manning Rangers player, his well-struck left-footed shot flew just over the bar.
Swallows continued to apply pressure and earned themselves a corner in the 62nd minute. Warren Lewis rose well to beat Phali and the ball fell to Samuel Ngobeni, who saw his shot rebound back into play off a Cosmos defender on the goal line.
As the game neared the end of regulation time the players seemed to be settling for extra time, however Cosmos almost took the lead when a goalmouth scramble ended with Bucuane poking the ball towards an open goal, but fortunately for the Birds, defender Hummel was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
The Ezenkhosi then thought they had won the match when Mwafulirwa pooped up at the near post to turn home the ball after a flying run by Dikgang Mabalane down the right flank.
The match was already into injury time and the Swallows faithful were preparing themselves to go home empty handed, but captain Gary McNab had other ideas,
The big defender rose high above the Cosmos defence to steer the ball into the corner of the goal after the Birds had earned a corner with only seconds left.
The game then went into extra time and the first good chance fell to Bucuane, who headed wide with Etafia stranded in no mans land.
Swallows had a good chance of their own a few minutes later, but no-one was able to get on the end of a Sebona cross after the speedy winger had outsripped the Cosmos defence.
Bucuane once again had a chance to seal the win for his side in the second half of extra time, but was once again denied by brave keeping from Etafia.
Cosmos were then awarded a somewhat contreversial penalty when Hummel brought down Bucuane inside the boz after the Cosmos captain cleverly flicked the ball over his head.
Lovers Mohlala made no mistake from the penalty kick to hand the win to the Ezenkhosi.
Sebona received a small consolation for his team's defeat when he was named man-of-the-match.