Harris Tchilimbou (left) celebrates scoring the opening goal for Free State Stars against Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Free State Stars picked up three valuable points at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic.

Celtic enjoyed the majority of possession, but it was Ea Lla Koto that opened the scoring seven minutes before halftime.

Defender Nyiko Mobbie went tearing down the right flank and sent an inviting cross towards goal.

Striker Harris Tchilimbou was first to react, out-jumping Celtic’s Ryan de Jongh to head past goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb (1-0).

Poor finishing was again the order of the day from both sides.

Linda Bhengu and Tchilimbou both missed good chances for Stars early on, while Tshegofatso Mabasa was woeful for Celtic when he fluffed his lines in the 19th minute with only goalkeeper Ali Sangare to beat.

After the interval, Steve Komphela’s Celtic kept piling on the pressure. The visitors kept possession, but just could not penetrate the Stars’ defence.

There was also just not enough urgency in the play of Bloemfontein Celtic.

Menzi Masuku was put through on goal in the 52nd minute, but great goalkeeping by Sangare kept the Celtic man out.

Stars increased their lead in the 58th minute after an excellent piece of finishing by Sinethemba Jantjie.

He broke through and gave keeper Tignyemb no chance with an excellent lob from just outside the box (2-0).

Free State Stars went close again in the 73rd minute when Mpho Maruping hit the upright with keeper Tignyemb well-beaten.

The hard-working Maruping came close again five minutes before time when he headed over the bar after a corner.

He left the field soon after with cramps in his legs.

Celtic missed the perfect opportunity to take up the top position on the Premiership log, while Stars moved into the top half of the table.

African News Agency (ANA)