Tempers flare as East London rivals clash

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Tempers flared between the players of Imbabala and OR Cosmos after their tense Vodacom League clash at the Absa Stadium, East London on Saturday.

The skirmish was allegedly sparked by Bucks’ coach Nigel Dixon using delaying tactics and holding onto the ball after it had gone out for a throw-in when his side was leading 2-1.

According to the Daily Dispatch online, Dixon was lambasted by the referee for the infringement and after the game had ended just moments after Cosmos had scored a stunning equaliser via former Bucks midfielder Sibusiso Mazibuko, the players began to exchange harsh words.

Bucks’ striker Phumlani Mhamha and Cosmos goalkeeper, Tebogo Moloedi took matters too far, shoving each other, sparking a full blown fracas, before Bucks’ officials, including Dixon, swiftly intervened.

The match pitted Bucks’ directors Sturu Pasiya and Philisa Mnqandi against their former colleague, Bongile Nkola, who is now pulling the strings at Cosmos and from the first whistle the rivalry between the two sides was evident as Cosmos launched several attacks on Bucks, who were seemingly playing in a relaxed mood.

Their mood was so relaxed that their goalkeeper, Tabata Mbongozi, even tried dribbling the ball instead of clearing the ball upfield. He nearly paid dearly for this lax attitude when Cosmos’ Loyiso Bolsiki forced him to commit a corner.

But Mbongozi did not heed the warning from his first mistake when he again chased a tame-looking ball, only to end up muffing a gather, and this time Bolsiki blasted the ball home. However, Mzunani Mgwigwi rifled home the equalizer from a spot kick soon afterwards.

After the break Bucks remained dangerous on counter attacks and Mzwanele Mahashe netted 15 minutes after the resumption.

Bucks appeared to have the match well in hand until Mgwigwi was red-carded for a dangerous tackle. Cosmos seized the numerical advantage as they pinned their opponents in their own half.

Bucks then swept every ball out of the field and Dixon began his alleged time-wasting as Cosmos were chasing an equalizer to make it 2-all.

They were finally rewarded just two minutes from regulation time when Mazibuko’s scorcher on the edge of the box sailed past Mbongozi.