Bloem Celtic stun Pirates

2011-12-18 17:47
Clifford Mulenga (Gallo Images)
Bloemfontein - Orlando Pirates’ hopes of closing to within four points of the top of the Premiership table were dashed on Sunday when they lost 1-0 to Bloemfontein Celtic at the Free State Stadium.
Pirates were hoping to up the pressure on the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs at the head of the standings, but Clifford Mulenga’s early goal saw Phunya Sele Sele to a hard-fought win that instead boosts their top eight ambitions. It is also Celtic’s first league win over Pirates since the 2006/07 season.
After a bright start from Pirates, it was in fact Celtic who drew first blood in the 14th minute when Mulenga controlled a ball in the penalty area, turned Rooi Mahamutsa inside-out, and then finished coolly into the top corner to make it 1-0.

Following Celtic’s early strike, the Buccaneers began to move through the gears and dominated proceedings. A short while after a water break midway through the first half they should have pulled themselves level when Benni McCarthy got on the end of a great cross from Ndumiso Mabena, but the striker’s scuffed effort was saved by Patrick Tignyemb.
Around the half hour mark Mulenga began to exert influence on the game again, first firing a missile of a shot just wide of Senzo Meyiwa’s left-hand post before forcing the stand-in goalkeeper into a punch off his goal line with a dipping free kick five minutes later.
Pirates started the second half strongly but struggled to create clear scoring opportunities. Twelve minutes after the restart Isaac Chansa made a half chance with a diagonal cross into the penalty area, but Thulasizwe Mbuyane was just unable to reach the ball.
With just under 20 minutes to play the Soweto giants finally forced Tignyemb into a save of note: the Cameroonian goalkeeper had to move sharply to his right to keep out a McCarthy free kick as the home side were forced further and further onto the back foot.
Yet Celtic still had a chance to kill the game off after 76 minutes when former Pirates striker Ezenwa Otorogu was gifted a shooting chance from a just a few metres out, but the Nigerian fluffed the opportunity.
In the 82nd minute another former Buccaneer, winger Phenyo Mongala, almost scored a sensational goal after he spotted Meyiwa off his line and went for a long range lob, but the gpalkeeper quickly backpedalled and made an excellent save to keep side in the game.
However, Pirates could find no way past the home side’s defence in what remained of the match and even ended the match with ten men when Ruben Cloete picked up his second yellow card for remonstrating with the referee.

Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 1 (Mulenga 14’)
Orlando Pirates 0

Celtic: Tignyemb; Moleko, Mathoho, Nthethe, Mahoa, Mshengu (Mongala 67’), Kerspuy, Madubanya, Venter (Otorogu 72’), Mulenga, Bacela (Mkhwanazi 80’)
Pirates: Meyiwa; Lekgwathi, Mahamutsa, Sangweni, Cloete, Segolela (Klate 61’), Manyisa, Chansa (Rantie 77’), Mbuyane, Mabena (Jali 61’), McCarthy

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