Cape Town - It was honours even at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Bloemfontein Celtic rallied from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Orlando Pirates.
Pirates looked to be heading for a narrow victory thanks to Gabadinho Mhango's first-half strike, but Celtic rallied magnificently in the second period and eventually claimed a share of the spoils thanks to Siphelele Luthuli's late equaliser.
The first half started at a cautious pace under cloudy skies at the Dr Molemela Stadium, with Pirates looking to frustrate their opponents by retaining possession.
However, the match sprang to life in the 14th minute, when Mhango burst forward from the halfway line and played a neat one-two with Augustine Mulenga before firing past Jackson Mabokgwane and into the back of the net.
The goal sparked an immediate response from the hosts, who went close to drawing level just three minutes later as Mzwanele Mahashe saw his shot hit the post.
They again went close a few minutes later as Mabena tried his luck from distance. Bucs keeper Wayne Sandilands was alert to the danger, though, doing well to keep out the shot after it took a big deflection.
Pirates briefly threatened to stretch further ahead on 35 minutes, but Justin Shonga was unable to find the target with a shot from distance.
Celtic had once last chance to draw level in the first half after a quick counter, but the chance came to nothing as Menzi Masuku fired straight into the grateful arms of Sandilands.
The Buccaneers again dominated possession at the start of the half, following the half-time break, with Celtic looking to hit them on the break.
However, they were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances and Celtic's confidence began to grow as the half wore on.
Siwelele went close to levelling matters when Masuku saw his shot at the near post denied by the feet of Sandilands, before Makaringe's goal was correctly chalked off for a foul in the build-up.
Sandilands was again called into action in the 71st minute, keeping out Andile Fikizolo's shot on goal, but there was nothing he could do to stop Siphelele Luthuli from firing a curling effort into the top corner from the edge of the box ten minutes later.
Pirates responded by creating a with a flurry of late chances, but it was a case of too little, too late as Abel Mabaso fired narrowly over, before Vincent Pule shot just wide of the mark.