Ndumiso Mabena (right), who scored the winner for Bloemfontein Celtic, competes for possession with Sibusiso Mthethwa of Platinum Stars on Sunday. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Bloemfontein Celtic eased to a 1-0 victory over relegation-threatened Platinum Stars in their Premiership match at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

Despite a slow start to the encounter, Celtic worked their way into the game midway through the first period.

From that point, they always looked like scoring – which they did through a Ndumiso Mabena goal just before the hour mark.

Once they hit the front, Celtic looked comfortable with their advantage as Stars, in contrast, seemed to lack any real creativity in attack.

With the win, Celtic move up two spots to eighth, with 32 points.

Stars, meanwhile, languish in bottom spot on the log with just 17 points from 24 games – seven points behind 15th-placed Ajax Cape Town. 

Stars had the first chance of the game, albeit a speculative attempt in the 13th minute.

Charles Baloyi unleashed a shot from range, but could not keep the ball down, which flew into the cheap seats behind the goal.

Stars threatened again minutes later as Riyaad Norodien for Stars went on a bustling run into the Celtic area, and whipped in an inviting cross, but there was not a teammate in sight as the ball drifted harmlessly away from danger. 

Celtic worked their way into the game and created their first chance of the game in the 21st minute.

Mabena held on to the ball before unleashing a well-struck attempt that was just over the crossbar.

The home side continued to threaten and came close to opening the scoring in the 26th minute as Deon Hotto headed the ball in the box which picked out Lucky Baloyi, who rifled his powerful strike just over the target.

Five minutes after the break, Hotto again took the initiative as he found himself in a dangerous position in the corner of the Stars box, before firing a shot over the target. 

Moments later, Kabelo Dlamini for Celtic reeled off a left-footed rasping effort, but it was straight at Stars gloveman Mbongeni Mzimela.

Celtic opened the scoring in the 58th minute with a well-taken goal.

Mabena latched on to a loose ball in the Stars box and poked it into the corner of goal to make it 1-0.

Baloyi again had a good chance for Celtic in the 74th minute, as he found himself in space and unmarked just inside the box, but his shot was splashed wide of the goal.

African News Agency (ANA)