Cape Town - Chippa United booked their place in the draw for the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals as Lehlohonolo Masalesa's second-half goal clinched a 1-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Tuesday.
Despite the nature of the scoreline, this was not a drab affair, and it marked Chippa's first win of the season. It was also head coach Norman Mapeza's first win at the helm, having been appointed by the Port Elizabeth-based outfit three weeks ago.
The first half started at a cautious pace as Celtic enjoyed plenty of possession, but they were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances in the opening ten minutes.
The first noteworthy chance of the match eventually arrived on 12 minutes after the Chippa defence gave the ball away cheaply on the edge of the penalty area, but it came to nothing as Boikanyo Komane recovered brilliantly to make a last-ditch block.
Celtic had another great chance just four minutes later and managed to get a shot on target, although Ndumiso Mabena's effort was kept out by the leaping Patrick Tignyemb in the Chippa goal.
The visitors continued to crank up the pressure and they again went close to grabbing the lead in the 24th minute as Harris Tchilimbou dragged his shot wide of the far post after bursting into the danger area on the left.
Chippa hit back with a chance of their own a few minutes later and really should have claimed the lead. However, skipper Frederic Nsabiyumva was unable to get his close-range effort away in time as goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane quickly raced off his line to snuff out the danger.
And the first half ended with a flurry of chances, Tignyemb tipping Mabena's free-kick wide before Chippa's Rhulani Manzini fired into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Celtic had one last chance before the half-time whistle rang out, but Victor Letsoalo was unable to find the mark as his powerful effort sailed over the bar.
There was more action to come after the break as the floodgates opened and both sides piled forward in search of the opening goal.
Chippa midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa shot wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the area on 56 minutes, while at the opposite end of the pitch, Baloyi somehow failed to hit the target as he fired a a one-touch effort over the bar.
Celtic's Lucky Baloyi then forced Tignyemb into action with a cross-cum-shot, before Chippa's Komane unleashed a thunderbolt from range that smashed against the crossbar.
The visitors went on to create three chances in the pace of nine minutes, with Letsoalo twice going close to scoring, before Siphelele Luthuli fired a free-kick high and wide of the Chippa goal.
And Celtic were made to rue those missed opportunities as Chippa claimed the lead in the 79th minute following an error in judgement by Mabokgwane, who raced off his corner to collect Tercious Malepe's corner kick, only for Masalesa to nip in ahead of him and head into an unguarded net.
Mabokgwane had to be on his toes to keep out Thabo Rakhale's goal-bound shot one minute later as Chippa very nearly doubled their lead.
Celtic redoubled their efforts as they looked to snatch an equaliser and send the match to extra time, but substitute Maloisane Ramasimong saw his volleyed shot tipped round the post by Tignyemb, before Mabena fired over from a free-kick in a dangerous postition.
In the end, however, Chippa were able to hold firm and secure a hard-fought victory and place in the last eight of the Telkom Knockout.