Bandile Shandu grabbed the winner within the first few minutes for Maritzburg United over Bloemfontein Celtic. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Bloemfontein Celtic suffered their first defeat of the Premiership season with a 1-0 loss to struggling Maritzburg United at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

After a week of uncertainty at the club with regards to financial difficulties, coach Steve Komphela’s team looked jaded when they ran out against the Team of Choice.

The match started a few minutes late after referee Cedric Muvhali ordered that Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb change his socks.

This left the goalkeeper visibly upset and before he had regained his composure, Maritzburg United struck through striker Bandile Shandu.

A brilliant pass from midfield set Shandu on his way. With Tignyemb slow to react, Shandu latched on to the ball and buried it in the net.

Maritzburg came into this match as the only team in the Premiership that had not tasted victory thus far this season.

Coach Fadlu Davids’ team played positive football from the start and nearly increased their lead in the sixth minute.

The home side’s Lorenzo Gordinho, however, did well to stop an attempt from defender Brian Onyango after a great assist by Rushine de Reuck after a corner kick.

Celtic had their first real chance at goal in the eighth minute, but Tshegofatso Mabasa could not control his shot, with the goal begging.

Yannick Zakri then wasted an opportunity for the visitors, before Mabasa hit the crossbar in the 29th minute.

Maritzburg keeper Richard Ofori did not have much to do, as Celtic’s sharpshooters were largely wayward with their attempts.

It was expected that Celtic would pile on the pressure in the second stanza in search of the equaliser.

There was, however, not enough urgency from players such as Mabaso, Ndumiso Mabena and replacement Tebogo Potsane to trouble Ofori’s goal.

Mabena’s shot was off-target in the 54th minute after he created space for himself in the box.

But that was the story of the day for Komphela’s side.

Forward Andrea Fileccia came up with a strong run in the 73rd minute, but his final shot was tame and did not test Celtic’s keeper.

The home side had a chance with 10 minutes remaining after a Mabena corner.

Alfred Ndengane latched on to the loose ball and took a shot at goal. It seemed as though the ball was on its way in, but it struck the head of Celtic’s Ronald Pfumbidzai and stayed out.

Gordinho then came close in the dying stages of the match, but his header was also off-target.

It was a great victory for the team from Pietermaritzburg, who desperately needed a boost after a dismal start to the season.

Maritzburg United managed to move off the bottom of the table with the valuable three points.

African News Agency (ANA)