Bloem Celtic held to a draw by Chippa United
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JOHANNESBURG – Bloemfontein Celtic were forced to share the spoils with Chippa United through a 1-1 draw at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium on Saturday afternoon, despite dominating possession.
Albeit the set-back, though, Celtic sneaked into the top-eight, occupying the eighth spot, as they dethroned Kaizer Chiefs who are also on 18 points. Chippa, on the other hand, are still in the bottom half as they are 13th with 14 points, four behind Celtic.
After a poor run of form, after losing the MTN8 final, it had taken a while for Celtic to look this good. Phunya Selele found the breakthrough this afternoon after the 10th minute but they applied the pressure from the first whistle.
Such that coach John Maduka must have been pleased by his team’s outing, especially after looking to build on from that famous win over SuperSport United at home on Wednesday – where they climbed to the summit of the bottom half of the standings.
To Celtic’s credit, their recent turn-of-the-corner came without the presence of captain Ndumiso Mabena, who was in the medical room. But stand-in leader Lucky Baloyi has led from the front, though, especially considering that he played a role in their lead this afternoon.
The 29-year-old midfielder won a penalty after being illegally obstructed by Mduduzi Sibeko inside the box. Victor Letsoalo stepped-up to take the responsibility and sent goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali the wrong way to give his side the lead.
From thereon, the Chilli Boys threw more bodies forward in search of the equaliser. But in their pursuit, they were blocked by some piece of good goalkeeping from Sipho Chaine, who ensured that his side went into the interval ahead.
The DStv Diski Challenge product first made an exceptional save after the half-an-hour mark, blocking Andile Mbenyane from close-range after being teed up by Anthony Laffor. But Chilli Boys’ coach Dan “Dance” Malesela was clearly not happy with some of his players’ performance.
Such that he made a double substitution before half-time, Thamsanqa Sangweni, who was making his first appearance this season since re-joining the club yesterday, and Bienvenu Eva Nga came on for Sibeko and Maloisane Mokhele respectively.
The introduction of the duo nearly made an instant impact, Mbenyane hitting a thunderbolt just outside Celtic’s box. But Chaine kept his team’s lead intact, making an acrobatic save to parry the danger for a corner-kick that Chippa failed to capitalise on.
Celtic, though, were unnecessarily reduced down to 10 men on the stroke of half-time, Tshepo Rikhotso clumsily tackling Laffor in his own half to get the marching orders from referee Skhumbuzo Gasa who had a quiet half since.
Chippa, though, started the second stanza determined to get the equaliser. And it took 13 minutes for that to happen. Eva Nga tapped in from close-range after being unmarked in the box, thanks to a sumptuous delivery down the flank from Riaan Hanamub.