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Johannesburg – Joel Mogorosi scored in extra time to give Bloemfontein Celtic a 3-2 win over a fighting Free State Stars outfit in their Telkom Knockout semi-final derby in Phuthaditjhaba on Sunday.
Celtic, who reached the final for the first time in the history of the cup competition, will face Mamelodi Sundowns in the title decider.
Both sides had early attempts, with Celtic captain Thabo Nthethe sending a header centimetres wide and Dove Wome blasting a free kick high and wide for Stars within the first four minutes.
The hosts had another early chance soon after when Moeketsi Mvula received a clever through-ball from Wome, but his strike was well saved by Celtic keeper Patrick Tignyemb.
Celtic's chances were few and far between in the first period, and Ruzaigh Gamildien's tame effort was easily saved by Stars keeper Kennedy Mweene in the 14th minute.
Stars were in charge again shortly afterwards, but Tignyemb, who shone in the first half, kept out a thunderous shot from Anver Esterhuizen and another off the rebound from Mvula.
Lyle Lakay fluffed a sitter for the visitors after half an hour when he sent the ball wide to the left from close range, and two minutes later Luyola Nomandela also fired wide with a long-range curler for Stars as the scores remained goalless at the break.
Celtic showed more intent in the second half and they were rewarded in the 52nd minute when Letladi Madubanya slipped through the Stars defence and flicked the ball past Mweene.
Dove Wome, however, equalised with 19 minutes left when he scored off the rebound after Tignyemb failed to collect from a previous save.
The visitors looked to have wrapped it up with nine minutes remaining when replacement Lerato Manzini found the back of the net, but Wome again saved the hosts three minutes later, scoring his brace direct from a free kick at a tight angle, and the match was sent into extra-time.
Mogorosi netted from a well-placed header five minutes into the extended period to secure victory. – Sapa