Celtic fightback floors Ajax
Bloemfontein - Lennox Bacela and Lerato Manzini handed Bloemfontein Celtic a 2-1 win over Ajax Cape Town at the Free State Stadium to hand the Phunya Sele Sele three points in the Absa Premiership.
Concerns over the state of the field circulated before the game, after a Currie Cup rugby match was held there the night before, but the Urban Warriors tried not to worry about it as they were determined to continue on the form which saw them beat Platinum Stars 4-1.
Ajax got off to a great start when they came close to scoring through Khama Billiat in the 10th minute. The Zimbabwean fired in a low shot from just outside the box after he met a headed ball from Koen van de Laak, following an excellent cross by Paul Rusike.
A minute later, Letladi Madubanya
became the first player to be shown yellow for a tackle on van de Laak, before Aiden Jenniker limped off, 26 minutes in, in place of Thato Mokeke - the substitution a result of injury.
It took Celtic half an hour to make their first shot at goal when Ruzaigh Gamildien swung low at goal but Roberts was equal to it, while John Arwuah was lucky to walk away with just a warning after a challenge on Musa Lebusa eight minutes later.
Ajax’s efforts were eventually rewarded, on the stroke of half-time, when Granwald Scott
hit an unstoppable volley outside the box into the back of the net, leaving Tignyemb helpless in goal.
Lerato Manzini came on in place of Nyanda at the start of the second half, before Celtic’s improved second half form saw them draw equal. Sean Roberts rushed off his line to gather a ball, but the state of the field saw him slip. The ball hit the crossbar but Lennox Bacela easily headed it in from a yard out, 59 minutes in.
Dolly and Scott made way for Nhlahla Shabbalala and Nhlahla Vilakazi, just after the half hour mark, before Roberts made amends for his earlier errors and pulled the ball from under the bar.
The result turned on its head in favour of Celtic as the half-time substitute Manzini sliced the ball through Roberts’ legs on the 72nd minute.
Billiat went to ground ten minutes later, but Ajax’s penalty appeals were waved away by the referee and it was the Phunya Sele Sele who celebrated the three points.