Celtic win Free State derby
Bloemfontein - Bloemfontein Celtic recorded a fourth successive 1-0 win over Free State Stars to secure the bragging rights in their derby match at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The team in green and white had beaten their rivals by the same score line in the teams’ last three Premiership meetings from the second half of the 2009/10 season onwards and made it four in a row thanks to a goal from Moses Spandeel.
The win is Celtic’s first since mid-August, breaking a five-game winless streak. They have moved up to seventh on the table on 11 points. Stars are ninth, with the same points tally but an inferior goal difference.
A scrappy first half ended with Phunya Sele Sele a goal to the good thanks to Spandeel’s header three minutes before the interval. Ea Lla Koto dominated the second stanza but were unable to find a way past Celtic’s resilient defence.
The teams cancelled each other out for most of the first half and genuine scoring chances were hard to come by. A fierce midfield battle developed and neither team were really able to stamp their authority on the game and gain a measure of control.
However, Celtic took advantage of a rare instance of poor defending from Stars just before the half-time break and surged ahead through veteran attacker Moses Spandeel.
The 31-year-old broke the deadlock on 42 minutes with an excellent diving header, ghosting away from his marker before converting a teasing cross to the far post from right-back Kgotso Moleko.
Ea Lla Koto were the first to threaten in the second half, with Dove Wome stabbing a shot wide of the target just under ten minutes after the restart.
The Togo striker soon suffered a clash of heads with Celtic hard man Letladi Madubanya but was able to play on despite being knocked out cold initially.
Stars substitute Edward Mnqele came close to levelling the game just a few seconds after coming on in the 75th minute, shooting just wide of the near post, though Patrick Tignyemb appeared to have the effort covered.
Mnqele had the ball in the back of the net three minutes later, rounding Tignyemb before steering the ball home from a tight angle, but he was ruled offside - television replays suggested that the striker was unlucky to have the decision go against him.
Celtic rarely threatened in the second half but they almost doubled their advantage on 83 minutes, with substitute Danny
Venter exchanging passes with Phenyo Mongala before powering through the middle of Stars’ defence only to steer his shot just wide of the target.
Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 1 (Spandeel 42’)
Free State Stars 0
Celtic: Tignymemb; Moleko, Nthethe, Mathoho, Mahoa; Spandeel (Kerspuy 79’), Mkhwanazi, Madubanya (Motlhaping 90+2’), Mongalo; Mulenga (Venter 57’), Bacela
Stars: Mweene; Gilbert, Sadate, Gege, Gcaba (Mnqele 75’); Coetzee (Chivuta 57’), Mashaba, Moholo, Mashego (Abagwu 62’); Wome, Sekgobela