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SA SOCCER NEWS
Greek Gods Fall At The Last Hurdle 15/10/03
Hellenic looked to have their first win of the season lined up only for Cosmos to fight back and score a late equaliser before going on to win on penalties in a Coca Cola Cup game played at Newlands last night.

Cosmos enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges by managing to hold onto the ball and spray their passes around, but they were not able to penetrate the home defence.

In the ninth minute Cosmos created their first chance of the match when Russell Mwafulirwa was put into space down the right flank. The Malawian used his pace to get into the Hellenic box, but his shot was too weak for keeper Gareth Ormshaw, who did well to get down to save the effort.

The Ezenkhosi continued to take the game to the hosts and came close in the 18th minute when Hellenic were unable to deal with a free-kick, but once again Ormshaw came to his team's rescue with a good save.

Hellenic coach Clemens Westerhof then suffered a setback to his game plans in the 22nd minute when Warren Budde, who had just returned from injury to play in this game, was forced to leave the action and had to be replaced by Joel Masilela.

The Greek Gods, who were struggling to create any attacking options of their own, came desperately close to taking the lead through Russell Khuzwayo in the 36th minute. After receiving a flick-on from a Zane Brown cross, Khuzwayo did well to chip Cosmos keeper Avril Phali, but had to watch in vain as his shot rebounded off the underside of the bar and back into play.

Cosmos midfielder Sam Magalefa thought he had given his side the lead when his well struck volley seemed destined for the top corner, only to see Ormshaw to pull off another fine save.

Ormshaw did, however, make a mistake in the 46th minute which almost lead to a goal. The 24-year old custodian failed to deal with a cross from the left and would have paid the ultimate penalty if defender Alan Johnson not been on the line to clear the danger.

The home side came out in the second half and took the game to their hosts. Their effort was soon rewarded when Masilela flicked on a Khuzwayo cross and Makwinje Soma-Phiri stole in at the back post to apply the finishing touch to put his team in the lead.

After having scored the goal, the Greek Gods seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure and use the counter attack when possible. This tactic proved to be dangerous as Cosmos looked for the equaliser and came close on several occasions, particularly in the 64rd minute when Teboho Mokoena played a neat one-two to put himself in on goal, but once again Ormshaw was on hand to bail out his team.

The home side continued to live dangerously and came close to conceding the equaliser when Sisa Nombe, who had just come on as a substitute, missed the goal after he found himself with the ball within 10 yards of goal.

Cosmos' pressure finally paid off in the 87th minute when Mwafulirwa rose well in the Hellenic box to flick the ball towards Tico-Tico Bucuane, who scrambled the ball home from close range to equalise the tie.

The game then went into extra time with the golden goal rule being applied. Both teams played rather tentatively as they were all too aware that a goal conceded would spell the end of their cup runs.

Cosmos had most of the possession, though chances were few and far between with Mokoena enjoying one of the few opportunities in the second half of extra time, but his shot from the edge of the box was dragged across the goal.

Lucky Mhlathe also came close with a header at the back post, but his powerful header flew straight into Ormshaw's hands.

Ormshaw then nearly turned villain when he dropped a routine corner. After a goal-mouth scramble the ball fell to Mwafulirwa, but the big Malawian somehow contrived to header the ball over the cross-bar from only a couple of yards out.

This proved to be the last chance of the game as the match went into a penalty shoot-out.

Hellenic started well when Ormshaw brilliantly saved from Lovers Mohlala, but their joy was short-lived as both Anton Greyling and Gareth Ncaca failed to score from the spot, leaving Mokoena to step up and slot home the winner for Jomo Sono's side.

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