Birds, Celtic draw in thriller
Siyabonga Nomvethe (Backpage)
Bloemfontein - Bloemfontein Celtic and Moroka Swallows hav played to an exciting 2-2 draw in their PSL match at Free State Stadium on Tuesday evening.WRAP: PSL
The match marked the debut of new Phunya Sele Sele coach Ernst Middendorp.
He looked on course for victory when Lerato Manzine put the hosts ahead, but the Birds fired back through their veteran attacker to claim the lead.
However, a late goal from debutant Frank Mhango salvaged a 2-2 draw for the hosts and ensured the German coach’s tenure did not begin with a loss.
Celtic offered the first threat at goal, with youngster Keagan Buchanan shooting on target in the 13th minute, but Swallows goalkeeper Greg Etafia was able to punch the effort away from danger.
Etafia was called upon again in the 40th minute, parrying away a shot from Botswana international Joel Mogorosi as Phunya Sele Sele looked the likelier scorers.
Three minutes later the hosts opened the scoring through Lerato Manzine.
Strike partner provided the assist for Manzine, who headed a cross beyond the reach of Etafia to make it 1-0.
Celtic would have been hoping to hold their lead up to half time, but just before the break the Birds levelled the game at 1-1. Luvhengo Mungomeni set up the veteran attacker, who finished the chance with a right-footed shot.
Four minutes into the second half Edward Manqele threatened to put Swallows ahead, but his shot was well saved by Patrick Tignyemb.
A few minutes later Manzine was upended in the 18-yard area by Etafia and the referee awarded Celtic a penalty. Mogorosi took on the responsibility of the spot kick, but saw his effort saved by the Birds’ keeper.
Swallows threatened again in the 75th minute, with Giorgi Nergadze getting on the end of Lerato Chabangu’s corner kick, but he was unable to direct his header on target.
Just over 10 minutes later Chabangu shot wide of Tignyemb’s right-hand post.
The visitors continued to build up the pressure, and in the 89th minute Nomvethe struck again, heading home from Chabangu’s cross to make it 2-1.
Just when it appeared Celtic would suffer another home defeat, Mhango popped up in injury time to secure a goal on debut and seal a 2-2 draw.
- (1) 2 (Manzine 43’, Mhango 90+3’)Moroka Swallows
- (1) 2 (Nomvethe 45’ 89’)
Tignyemb, Mzava, Nthethe, Daniels, Mahoa, Mogorosi (Koapeng 79’), Arwuah, Nyatama (Mhango 66’), Buchanan, Ntanga, Manzine
Etafia, Isaacs, da Costa, Mungomeni, Mokgothu, Obada (Ogle 62’), Nergadze, Cohen, Chabangu, Nomvethe, Manqele