11 March 2018
Tembisa, South Africa
Well we made it to the first round of the Champions League, and have actually had a pretty good run that was only soured by the last match we played.
Blow by Blow
Match 21/30 – ABSA Premiership
Bleomfontein Celtic are not an easy team to start off this set of games. The have been disappointing this season, however and I fancy our chances.
Our task is not made easier by having both fullbacks suspended and Nogi off on Japan duty until… October last year!!! WTF???
We start like a house on fire. Majola getting onto a long pass to blast home the first goal. We almost give the lead back with a defensive error but Celtic fail to take the chance. Luthuli makes a fine save from a free kick. Majola missed two chances to double the lead blazing over both times.
We start well And Lavet heads wide of an open goal. Why cant we head on target. They find the net, but were offside. While we have only one goal we are not safe. I make a change to a 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree on 71 mins in search of the second goal. Radzi shoots wide from the top of the area. They put a free-kick over in stopage time and that is enough for us to hold on.
I am happy with the performance today, and Motaung may have earned a start next game at right back. Of course he then gets injured the day before the game!
Match 22/30 – ABSA Premiership
The Orland Pirates Favour a 4-4-2 formation. I am looking at sticking with the 4-3-1-2 in an attempt to dominate the middle. The seem weakest down left and through the middle.
Nogi is still away until tomorrow so the only changes are the return of the two centre backs.
Muhimpundu managed to hurt himself after only 6 minutes, so Tseka came on in his place. Poor defending at the back gifted them a goal after only 8 minutes. We almost gave up a second goal save for some great keeping. Switching to a 4-3-3 formation, Lubasa looked to have pulled a goal back but was flagged offside.
Grigorjevs comes on at half time because Lavet is playing poorly. Majola moves in to lead the line. The change almost bore fruit when Majola couldn’t get a shot off on a Grigorjevs cross. Majola scored a great team goal to level things up just on the hour mark. Both teams had chances but neither were able to apply the killer touch and the match finshed 1-1.
Lavet has been a bust for us and the jury is still out on Grigorjevs.
Muhimpundu is out for about a month, which will rule him out of the Champions League fixtures.
I attended the interview to keep in practice, however I am not interested in this team. Were Pro Vercelli to come calling I would be keen! They approached me but I turned them down.
CAF Champions League Prelim Round Leg 1
I have no idea what to expect from these guys. It is unknown territory.
No real surprises in the line-up. Nogi is on the plane back from Japan. Zech is on the bench as Makaringe gets the start in the BtB role.
We score a goal in 29 seconds!!! A fantastic start. The first touch of the ball for them was when the keeper picked it out of his net! We are controlling the game but haven’t taken our chances. 17 shots in the first half, but only 5 on target.
“Mr Five finishing” Nene comes on at half-time and scores right from the kick-off. 2-0 Cosmos. Grigorjevs scores his first goal for the club to make it 3-0 and I feel more relaxed now. We are dominating the game and should have scored more. Nene scores his second to make it 4-0 to Cosmos, and then gets his hat-trick! Makaringe added our sixth goal to complete the rout.
Heroes all around, but then it is easy when you win 6-0!
I am not even interested in this role – No interview attended.
Nedbank Cup 1st Round
Maritzburg will offer a harder challenge. The key to them appears to keep the game tight throught the first 60 mins and then exploit them as athey fall away.
Nogi is back from international duty, and Nene is thrust into the striker role even though he isn’t natural there.
We have most of the possession in the opening minutes. Nene scores a wonder strike to give us the lead.
He doubles it up with a great free kick. 2-0 Cosmos! He almost gets a hat-trick but puts the shot wide.
The second half was not very inspiring. We didn’t create many chances, and were content to sit on the lead. The big thing was they didn’t threaten either.
What can you say about Nene! Key player in getting through to the next round.
I am not interested so I decline without interviewing. I will be leaving Cosmos at the end of the Champions League run. As it spans two seasons that could mean either end of this season, or the end of the year.
Match 23/30 – ABSA Premiership
Kaizer Chiefs promise to be a really hard game. The games stand at 2-2 for the season, so this is a decided of sorts.
Only one change from the last match with Lubasa replacing Motaung as squad rotation. While we have the Champions League match three days after this, we do have a 6-0 lead in the tie so feel this match is more important.
We start positively and make the better fist of the opening minutes. Grigorjevs looks to have scored but the flag goes up. We do go ahead through a Ndlovu own goal. Nene the Magician makes it 2-0 and we have a good grip on the match. 2-0 Cosmos at the break.
Kaizer Chiefs come out firing at the start of the half however we hold on. We can’t convert from a goalmouth scramble and at 61 mins I make some changes. I made a slight error and am short a midfielder on the bench. The second half was all Kaizer Chiefs yet we held them out. With time almost up Dube scored an own goal and we win 3-0.
Nogi player of the match, and Nene with another goal!
Nedbank Cup Second Round Draw
Cosmos draw the Black Aces in the second round.
Another offer that I didn’t even attend. It is good to see that clubs want to hire me.
CAF Champions League Prelim Round Leg 2
We take a 6-0 lead into the second leg. I am feeling confident that victory is ours.
I have fielded a completely rotated side, and am resting most of my key players.
We have a chance from a corner however the defender clears it off the line. Majola sets up Lavet who slams home the first goal. 1-0 Cosmos. Majola finds Lavet in a repeat of the first goal and Lavert makes no mistake. 2-0 Cosmos. Ralebakeng makes it 3-0 Cosmos with a nice finish.
Half-time finds us 3-0 to the good. Pamplemousses have a couple of chances after the break however they don’t get close with either one. The Majola/Lavet partnership sees a third goal. 4-0 Cosmos (10-0 Aggregate). Lavet hist the post probably because the pass didn’t come from Majola! Majola blazes over from edge of the area, and Lavert has a shot saved.
In the end it was no contest. Lavet picked up player of the match for his hat-trick.
CAF Champions League 1st Round Draw
We draw MA Tetouan from Morocco. This should be a good match as Moussa Tran is the top goal scorer this season in the competition.
Two Interviews that I declined. Still sticking to my plan!
Match 24/30 – ABSA Premiership
Having just knocked them out of the cup we now get to face them in the League. We need to keep our run going.
We field our best team available. The media is picking that it will be a close game. We have to win this one.
Grigorjevs had a great chance but produced a great save. Luthuli produces a superb save of his own to keep the scores level after 15 mins. Radzi gives away a penalty which they convert to see us behind. They are taking the game to us and we are lucky to be only 1-0 down.
Duarte had the first real chance of the second half which was saved. We are struggling to break them down today. In the end we made most of the play but we couldn’t do enough.
I am disappointed with how we played this game. We just didn’t have the edge ate all.
The last game spoiled the series really. Maritzburg the party poopers.
We have slipped down a place but are still near the top. Second is not out of reach.
The final run in looks pretty good. Of course there will be cup games in the mix as well, so this may drag out into two posts.