Neo Maema (right) celebrates with his Bloemfontein Celtic teammates after scoring against Richards Bay on Sunday. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Bloemfontein Celtic advanced to the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup with a comfortable 3-1 win over Richards Bay in their last-16 fixture at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

It was a brave effort from National First Division side Richards Bay, but in the end, PSL team Celtic just had far too much class and quality.

Celtic bounded out of the blocks quickly and were unfortunate not to get on the score-sheet early on, when Victor Letsoalo flashed a shot wide of goal.

The Bloemfontein side continued to pile on the pressure, with Sipho Jembula hoofing a volley at goal, but his effort was saved by Richards Bay goalkeeper Xolani Ngcobo.

Alfred Ndengane also had a chance for Celtic, but his attempt was wide.

Richards Bay hung in there in the face of pressure, and they did their best work on the counter.

Sandile Mthethwa had a shot at goal, but it was saved by Celtic goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe. And a few minutes later, Khayelihle Shozi was in the clear, but fired his shot high.

Something had to give – and it did in the 41st minute when Mpho Maruping scored to hand Celtic a well-deserved 1-0 lead at halftime.

Richards Bay had no choice but to come out after the break and try and force an equaliser.

They had two opportunities, both of which fell to Gregory Roelf, but on both occasions, the striker fired wide.

Both teams looked to their benches during the second half, with Celtic substituting Atusaye Abondo, Jembula and Given Mashikinya with Neo Maema, Jacky Motshegwa and Lantshene Phalane.

For Richards Bay, Shozi, Stanley Muishond and Sonke Ntuli were replaced by Ellesah Mensah, Philani Cele and Thabiso Nkoana.

But with Richards Bay pushing forward to try and gain parity, they left themselves short at the back, and Celtic duly took advantage.

Substitute Maema netted to make it 2-0 in the 85th minute, and five minutes later, it was 3-0 as Kabelo Dlamini finished it off for the Bloemfontein side.

Moments before the close, though, Nkoana scored a consolation goal for Richards Bay.

African News Agency (ANA)