Stellenbosch relegation woes continue after home loss to Celtic
CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC’s relegation woes deepened after a 2-1 home defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic at Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday.
Their second home loss in a row keeps them in second-last place on the Absa Premiership standings, while Celtic after back-to-back victories climb up three places to ninth on the table headed by Kaizer Chiefs.
Stellies needed only three minutes to open their account, a perfectly weighted cross into the right side of the penalty area from the left foot of wing-back Marc van Heerden finding an unmarked Ryan Moon. The former Kaizer Chiefs striker, who joined the Winelands-based side in August, timed his jump to perfection to meet and header past Celtic goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane for his third goal.
Celtic, 2-1 winners of the corresponding fixture, started to string a few passes together but lacked bite going forward and never got a shot away at keeper Boy de Jong.
Moon then sent in a cross that found the team’s top goal scorer Waseem Isaacs, but his fellow marksman wasn’t able to generate enough power from six yards out with his header landing in the gloves of Mabokgwane.
The small partisan crowd would have been pleased with the fair being dished up by their men. Celtic hardly looked threatening but were awarded a free-kick from just outside the penalty area taken by Teboho Potsane but snuffed out by a well-organised home defence marshalled by central pairing Mogamad de Goede and Robyn Johannes.
Stellies have held leads before and not been able to close out and there were some tense moment towards the end of the half as Celtic started to find their mojo with their pace and movement into the final third, their main threat being Potsane who on a couple of occasions dribbled past his markers but maybe held onto the ball too long before pulling the trigger.
Stellies right-back Nyiko Mobbie went on a sortie and fired a in rocket that the keeper did well to tip over his bar. But coach Steve Barker would have been worried with the way his charges surrendered possession which allowing the opposition to grow in confidence and dictate matters.
And it would lead to the equalizer for Phunya Sele Sele 10 minutes into the second half with centre-back Mzwanele on target. The men from the Free State were now in full cry as their Mother City rivals began to wilt under never-ending pressure. A one-sided affair now but the visitors couldn’t make it count through the 70-minute mark.
Barker had made one change with Moon off for Ashley du Preez and the little fellow on was a lively force when Stellies were able to launch the odd counter-attack. Isaacs then departed the scene with 15 minutes left on the clock and into the fray stepped Lelethu Skelem, the coach hoping to strike it lucky.
However it was Celtic who took the lead through a wonderful strike from substitute Andile Fikizolo, his shot flying into the top netting. And it could well have been 3-1 had it not been for De Jong’s fine stretch low to his right to keep out striker Ndumiso Mabena, who earlier had a couple of chances to add his name to the scoresheet.
Stellies tried to put up a fight but on the night were soundly beaten.
Mike de Bruyn