Absa Premiership

Bloemfontein Celtic edge Arrows in heatwave

2018-01-07 18:52
Victor Letsoalo (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Bloemfontein Celtic withstood a late Golden Arrows rally to win 2-1 at home on Sunday after a Absa Premiership match staged in punishing 38 degrees celsius heat.

As it happened: Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 Golden Arrows

Partly cloudy conditions made the conditions slightly more bearable and "water breaks" were taken midway through each half with ice placed on many players' necks.

South Africa switched from a February-November to August-May season some years ago after increasingly few spectators attended matches in near-zero temperatures during June and July.

But the downside of the switch was footballers having to perform in the often searing mid-afternoon heat of December and January.

Arrows, who arrived in central city Bloemfontein from their Indian Ocean base of Durban just two hours before the kick-off after a charter flight, were lethargic in the opening half.

Victor Letsoalo and Namibian Deon Hotto, playing against his former club, gave Celtic a 2-0 half-time advantage that could have been wider with more clinical finishing.

Zimbabwean Thomas Chideu halved the deficit just before the second water break and Arrows pressed in vain late on for an equaliser.

Celtic rose two places to sixth, five points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. Arrows remained 10th.

In much cooler Durban, Linda Mntambo scored twice in 10 second half minutes to earn mid-table Chippa United a 2-0 away win over lowly AmaZulu.

The Absa Premiership - often called the English Premier League of Africa - is the richest in the continent with R30 million prize money.

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