Celtic reach Nedbank Cup semis after beating TS Sporting on penalties
CAPE TOWN – Bloemfontein Celtic advanced to the Nedbank Cup semi-finals after winning the penalty shoot-out 3-2 against TS Sporting at the KaNyamazane Stadium in Mpumalanga on Sunday afternoon.
The scores were locked at 1-all at the end of regulation time and extra-time failed to separate the two teams in this quarterfinal round clash.
Celtic will now join fellow Premiership teams Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and Baroka in the 2020 Nedbank Cup semifinals in April.
Sporting, a National First Division side languishing in the bottom half of the standings, hardly looked like a lower-tier side as they contained Celtic's early advances deep into their half. To be exact, Sporting are one position above the relegation zone.
In the opening 15 minutes, Celtic held the upper hand but somehow did not fashion scoring opportunities. Sporting's four-man midfield were industrious and man-marked well to stifle threats whenever it emerged.
#NedbankCup - RESULT (AET):— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) March 15, 2020
TS Sporting 1-1 Bloem Celtic
Decide Chauke had the chance to put the home side in front but he had his penalty saved which means a penalty shootout is required to determine the winner.
Watch live: https://t.co/3wUsZ1pF9y. pic.twitter.com/3CP3CgcJCr
Sporting took some time to strike up cohesion on attack and they proved penetrative down the flanks. However, whenever a few half-chances emerged after crosses into the goalmouth Sporting's front-runners were not positioned to capitalise.
In the first half, Sporting led the shots on target count 4-1.
In added first-half injury time, Celtic had a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring after they were awarded a free-kick, just outside the penalty area and plumb in front after Sera Motebang was brought down.
Celtic's Sepana Letsoalo struck the ball low down to the righthand corner but Sporting goalkeeper Mlungisi Maranti, with a tremendous full-length dive, steered the ball away for a corner.
Sporting's Teboho Khasipe was the lone first-half yellow-card booking after an 11th-minute infringement.
Although Sporting looked the likelier to score first in the second half, given the few half chances that emerged, it was Celtic who struck with the game's opening goal in the 54th minute. Sporting was unable to halt a telling counter-attack down the left flank and Motebang's low cross was met by Letsoalo who sidefooted the ball home (1-0).
The stalemate could have been restored moments later after Sporting's Decide Chauke set off on a dribble in Celtic's penalty area. He wormed his way past five defenders with then kicked his parting shot wide of goals.
Sporting followed up this setback with pressure spell which Celtic's defence only just managed to survive for the time being. During this hectic spell, they were also unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after referee Cedric Muvhali waved play on after it appeared the ball struck a Celtic arm in a packed central defence.
Sporting made a hash of a free-kick just outside the Celtic penalty area, but they made amends moments later in the 77th minute when they were awarded another free-kick, this time much further out. As Celtic battled to clear the kick, Francisco 'Chico' Muchanga slipped in between two defenders to net the equaliser.
Celtic's shaky defence survived Sporting's late flourish in search of the winner and the match advanced into extra time. By this time, Sporting had a vastly superior 11-4 shots-on-goal count.
Sporting goalkeeper Maranti picked up a second-half booking in the 54th minute.
The match looked like it could be decided 13 minutes into the first half of extra time when Sporting substitute Katlego Mojela was fouled by Celtic goalkeeper Sipho Chaine. However, Chauke's sloppy effort from the 'spot' was saved by Chaine.
In the eventual penalty shoot-out phase, Celtic fared best with a 3-2 matchwinning margin.
African News Agency (ANA)