Even after parting ways with coach Khabo Zondo after a string of poor results, Bloemfontein Celtic’s ambitions of improving their position on the log suffered a blow.
With caretaker coaches Benjamin Reed and David Modise at the helm, Celtic lost 1-0 to the title-chasing Orlando Pirates in a Premier Soccer League game at a fully packed Seisa Ramabodu Stadium in Bloemfontein on Wednesday afternoon.
Both sides displayed determination and zeal as they went at each other.
Bloemfontein Celtic were the first to ask questions when Darryl Smith connected James Madidilane’s free-kick, but Senzo Meyiwa parried the ball for a corner.
The referee stamped his authority early on in the game when he yellow-carded Smith for foul play on the Pirates keeper in the ninth minute.
Soon afterwards, the sky opened up. Playing on a slippery pitch, both sides tried hard to adjust to the conditions.
Realising the danger, Celtic packed their defence and almost paid dearly when defender Gary Goldstone, in an attempt to clear, nearly scored an own goal in the 14th minute.
But it was a game of mixed fortunes as they squandered golden chances.
Orlando Pirates had a slight edge over Celtic, but the Bloemfontein side retaliated with good moves, with Ntokozo Sikhakhane and Soul Mmethi taking the game to Pirates.
Credit must also go to Celtic keeper Postnet Omony, who made a breathtaking save from a free-kick by Pirates captain Teko Modise in the 36th minute.
Pirates’ Lebohang Mokoena was a constant threat against Celtic on the right flank and was unlucky when his perfect square pass to strikers Gilbert Mushangazike and Excellent Wallaza did not find the goal.
However, Mokoena’s efforts were rewarded on the stroke of half-time in another attempt to square the ball. The Celtic keeper misjudged the ball and fisted it into his own net, and the half-time score was 1-0 in favour of the Buccaneers.
Pirates nearly scored their second of the day in the 55th minute after Tlou Segolela’s shot slipped through the legs of Omony, but the Ugandan goal-minder recovered in time to stop the ball before crossed the goal-line. — Sapa