Celtic bury Santos
Mulomowandau Mathoho (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bloemfontein Celtic struck twice in the second half to give the hosts a deserved 2-0 win over Premiership strugglers Santos in Botshabelo on Sunday.
Ransford Osei made up for wasted chances in the first half when he scored with 15 minutes left, with Jacky Matshegwa finding the back of the net in injury time.
Celtic dominated the encounter, with Santos goalminder Dembo Touray forced to make numerous saves to keep his side in the game. Santos were troubled throughout the first half, holding off relentless waves of attack from Celtic.
Gert Schalkwyk had the first real chance in the 20th minute when he collided with Touray in the area, with only the keeper to beat.
Minutes later, Luyanda Bacela was denied the opening goal by Touray after a clever close-range chip directed at the Santos keeper.
Zambian international Clifford Mulenga was a dominant force up front and had perhaps the best opportunity of the opening period, blasting a thunderous long-range effort that Touray tipped around the post half an hour in.
The hosts continued to surge in the second half, and Mulenga came close again in the 70th minute when he sent another long-range effort inches wide of the right post.
Five minutes later, Osei hit the bottom right corner with a shot that kept low to put Celtic ahead.
Santos hit back in the dying stages, with Nasief Morris missing narrowly to the right, while Matthew Pattison had a shot saved by Celtic keeper Thabang Stemmer.
The home side, however, made sure in injury time when Motshegwa banged in a left-footed strike from the corner of the area.
Mulenga was sent off with seconds left in the game, reducing Celtic to 10 men, but they had done enough.
Celtic, eighth in the standings, narrowed the gap to two points on seventh-placed Ajax Cape Town.
Santos, meanwhile, were handed their 11th loss of the season and remained third from bottom.