SOWETO – Struggling Bloemfontein Celtic scored a 93rd-minute winner in a 2-1 win over an unimpressive Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night.
While a draw might have been a fair result from a game which provided numerous chances at both ends of the field, Celtic may feel they deserved the three points after they showed plenty of desire and determination in the second half having been a goal down at the break.
After Vusi Shikweni had missed with a headed attempt for the visiting side, Pirates were to take the lead after 10 minutes played when a searching ball up-field was chased down by Oupa Manyisa, who profited from a mix-up from Wandisile Letlabika and goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb, which allowed the Bucs skipper to tap into an empty net for his first goal of the season.
Celtic came storming back and could have been on equal terms just moments later, but after slicing through the Pirates defence, Khethokwakhe Masuku’s parting shot was brilliantly saved by Jackson Mabokgwane.
Tshepo Rikhotso then sent a header inches wide for Phunya Sele, while Pirates also looked dangerous going forward and could have had a second if Manyisa had been more clinical on 25 minutes.
Tshegofatso Mabaso fired wide as another chance went a-begging for the visitors, while Tignyemb was well positioned to keep out a Mahlatse Makudubela effort.
Celtic were perhaps lucky to end the first half with 11 men after Alfred Ndengane hacked down Makudubela from behind in no uncertain terms, but only received a yellow card.
Following the restart, there was a free kick from Thabo Matlaba which flew just wide of the far post and a disallowed goal for Edwin Gyimah after an overhead kick from the Ghanaian.
But the Free State team began to take a hold of the game and they put the Buccaneers defence under increasing pressure, Deon Hotto having a 63rd minute shot saved before Musa Nyatama side-footed wide after being teed up perfectly in front of goal by Masuku.
Celtic’s efforts were to pay off 13 minutes from time when they scored in rather bizarre fashion – Lantshene Phalane’s searching ball into the box towards Ayanda Dlamini dropped between Gyimah and Ayanda Gcaba and then bounced over Mabokgwane and into an empty net.
Pirates looked the more likely side to get a winner, but instead, it was Phunya Sele Sele who took home a welcome three points going into the Christmas break as Rikhotso stole into the box to bundle home a free kick in the final seconds of the match in Soweto.
The Sea Robbers are without a victory in their last four league matches, while the win was Celtic’s first in five games as caretaker coach Lehlohonolo Seema saw his charges getting the better of his former team
– African News Agency (ANA).