Late penalty saves SuperSport
Pretoria - SuperSport United's Mame Niang scored a late second-half penalty to salvage a point against Bloemfontein Celtic in a Premiership clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday.
Musa Nyatama had put Celtic ahead in the 40th minute with his third league goal of the season, but Celtic failed to hold on as Niang equaliser from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time, forcing the teams to share the points.
The stalemate takes Matsatsantsa back to the top of the Premiership standings.
A win would have put the Pretoria outfit two points clear, after Mamelodi Sundowns slipped from the summit of the table having been defeated by Polokwane City on Saturday.
The visitors should have gone ahead as early as the third minute, but Manzini somehow managed to send a simple tap-in the opposite direction, having been unmarked and with an open net in front of him.
Nyatama was next to test United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, unleashing a venomous long-range effort in the 22nd minute, but Williams was equal to the task and palmed clear over the crossbar.
Manzini's poor display in the area continued, after he scooped his shot over Williams' goal in the 26th, having again found himself in front of an empty net.
United replied though Bevan Fransman, after the lanky centre-back flashed his header wide of the mark from a Thuso Phala set-piece.
But Celtic would not be denied five minutes before the interval, as Nyatama received a sliding pass from Vuyani Ntanga that cut the United defence in half.
A composed Nyatama rounded Williams in the area, before slotting home the opener to send the visitors into the half-time break with the lead, despite Sameehg Doutie striking the upright in additional time.
The hosts returned after the break looking the better team, with Phala thundering a long-range attempt towards goal, but was thwarted by Patrick Tignyemb, who pulled off a superb stop to deny United the equaliser.
Nyatama went close to doubling his tally after attempting a delicate curled shot which looked destined for the top corner, but Williams stood tall and parried away over the bar.
With time running out, United were gifted a lifeline in the form of a penalty, after second-half replacement Bradley Grobler was brought down inside the area by Keagan Buchanan.
Niang stepped up confidently and dispatched the spot-kick past Tignyemb, who was beaten for pace and power as the home side drew level.
Celtic could have gone ahead with the last kick of the game, but Gabadinho Mhango blasted his shot from dead in front of goal skywards, leaving the teams deadlocked at full-time.
SuperSport United (0) 1 (Niang 80’)
Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 1 (Nyatama 40’)
SuperSport United: Williams, Moloi (Grobler 76’), Khumalo, Fransman, Maluleka, Doutie (Chenene 62’), Mkhabela, Gyimah, Niang, Phala, Mathebula (Maluleke 62’)
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb, Mahoa, Nthethe, Daniels, Mzava, Aruwah, Mutuma (Mogorosi 51’), Ntanga (Letlabika 60’), Nyatama, Buchanan, Manzini (Mhango 84’)