Manzini strike saves Celtic
Joel Mogorosi and Lerato Manzini (Gallo Images)
Mbombela - A 94th minute goal from Lerato Manzini has handed Bloemfontein Celtic a share of the spoils as they drew 1-1 with Black Aces in a PSL match at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night.
Aces will feel aggrieved on the night after Mabhuti Khenyeza handed them the lead in the first half.
It was a match they dominated for the most part, but Celtic’s never say die attitude saw them level matters with the last kick of the match.
The opening 45 minutes saw the home side dictate the flow of play as they controlled the possession stakes and had the majority of goal mouth chances.
The first real scoring opportunity of the night fell to Aces in the ninth minute after some good work down the left flank saw Thabo Qalinge terrorise the Celtic defenders as he made his way into the box and onto his right foot, but his shot went narrowly wide of the target.
Celtic were not really in the game in the opening stanza, but they did manage to create one decent chance on goal in the 15th minute thanks to some good build-up play.
A swift passing movement saw Celtic make their way to the edge of the box before Lerato Lamola fired a shot on goal, but his stinging effort was straight at the keeper who made a relatively comfortable save.
That was about as good as it got for Celtic in the first half and they were fortunate not to go behind on the half hour mark as Omar Hendricks directed a 35-yard free-kick just over the frame of the goal.
Eight minutes later and Aces did find the back of the net thanks to some brilliance by their star striker Mabhuti Khenyeza who found the right-hand corner of the goal with a dipping volley from just outside the box, 1-0.
Khenyeza proceeded to celebrate his goal by lifting his top over his head, but was promptly booked for his actions.
The second 45 saw a reversal of roles as Celtic took the upper hand and saw more of the ball, but they struggled to create chances on goal.
As a result Celtic coach Clinton Larsen introduced two new striking options in the form of Lerato Manzini and Rodrick Mutuma in the 58th minute.
It almost paid dividends for the away side in the 69th minute as Manzini met a deep cross from the left wing, but his powerful header struck the crossbar.
Celtic continued to press for the equaliser and just as it looked like they were set to drop points Manzini found the equaliser in the 94th minute.
A free-kick on the left side of the field resulted in the ball finding its way to the left by-line where Mutuma played a low pass across the face of goal which was poked home by Manzini from a couple of yards out to hand Celtic a share of the spoils, 1-1.
"We took risks seeking an equaliser and were rewarded," said Larsen.
"We should have booted the ball into the stand instead of allowing them to level," said Aces handler and 1996 Africa Cup of Nations-winning coach Cliver Barker said.
The stalemate left the clubs in the bottom half of the table after six rounds with Celtic one position above Aces. Scorers:Black Aces
(1) 1 (Khenyeza 38’)Bloemfontein Celtic
(0) 1 (Manzini 94’) Teams: Black Aces:
Nhlapo; Mabaso (Kobola 49’), Ferreira, Mwanjale, Hendericks, Zwane, Ngobeni (Tukane 65’), Ngalo, Qalinge, Khenyeza, Nale (Mtsweni 77’) Bloemfontein Celtic:
Tignyemb; Mzava, Daniels, Nthethe, Mogapi, Mogorosi, Aruwuaj, Nyatama, Lamola (Mahoa 71’), Koapeng (Mutuma 58’), Ntanga (Manzini 57’)