Maritzburg United have progressed to the next round of the Nedbank Cup Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Maritzburg United have progressed to the next round of the Nedbank Cup Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Celtic edge Maritzburg in dramatic Nedbank Cup five-goal thriller

By Herman Gibbs Time of article published Feb 23, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Bloemfontein Celtic defeated Maritzburg United 3-2 in a Nedbank Cup last 16 round five-goal thriller at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening.

After the teams were level at 1-1 at the halftime break, there were three second-half goals, one of which was scored in added injury time when the spectre of extra time loomed large.

Celtic imposed themselves on the match straight from the kick-off and the result was they were able to force three corners in the opening five minutes. Celtic's patient build-ups burst into life in the last third but Maritzburg's defence held out to avert early damage.

Neither side seemed bothered by the spoiling slippery conditions and on the evidence of Celtic's grip on the game, the always looked the likelier to score first.

However, a Maritzburg sortie deep into the Celtic half produced the opening goal in the 16th minute when Justice Chabalala was blown up for a handball just inside his penalty area. Maritzburg's Thabiso Kutumela sent goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane the wrong way with his 'spot' kick (1-0).

Celtic again wrested the initiative and looked set for their opener but Maritzburg keeper Bongani Mpandle deflected a well-taken close-in free-kick for a corner in the 20th minute. However, three minutes later Mpandle was unable to gather Tumelo Njoti's header after Maritzburg's made a hash of clearing a goalmouth cross (1-1).

In the 34th minute Celtic's Maloisane Ramasimong produced one of the first-half highlights after executing an overhead bicycle kick in the opposition penalty box but Mpandle only just managed to smother a whisker from the goal line.

In the run-up to the halftime break, Celtic continued to dominate although Maritzburg had one or two chances to strike the target but neither side managed to undo the 1-all stalemate.

The start of the second half was very much a duplicate of the first and Celtic spurned two gilt-edged scoring chances in the opening five minutes.

Maritzburg managed to weather the storm and even fashioned two scoring chances in the next 12 minutes but failed to capitalise.

Just past the hour mark, Celtic went ahead through a Maloisane Ramasimong goal after Mpandle blocked a scoring attempt. Mpandle was unable to gather the ball safely and Ramasimong pounced to steer the stray ball into the net (2-1).

Ramasimong went on to win the 'Man of the Match' award.

Maritzburg tried hard to stage to a fightback but they were far too rushed in their approach work and often tried to strike from deep options, mostly with wayward attempts which failed to threaten.

However, two minutes from the end of regulation time Kwanda Mngonyama snatched the equaliser when he struck the underside of the crossbar after Celtic failed to deal with a corner effectively, and the match seemed headed forced into extra time (2-2).

But Celtic had other ideas and snatched the winner in the fourth minute of added injury time when substitute Harris Tchilimbou clipped the inside of the upright with his scoring attempt after latching onto a slide-rule scoring pass from Siphelele Luthuli.

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