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15 May 2008 09:21
Bloemfontein Celtic were beaten 2-0 by Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus on Wednesday night in an Absa Premiership clash, with the Free State side outperformed by a team who playing their best soccer of the season.
Amakhosi’s late surge has effectively earned them a place in next season’s Top Eight competition and given a new lease of life to the Naturena club and coach Muhsin Ertugral, in particular, after he was vilified by rabid supporters and some of his own club’s officials only a matter of a month ago.
“It’s a pity we could not have played the kind of soccer all season that we have displayed in our last eight games,” said Ertugral afterwards. “But these things take time when you are starting from scratch and with a couple of reinforcements I believe we can challenge for the Premier League title next season.”
A dizzy run down the left flank followed by a clinical pass from Simphiwe Tshabalala enabled Chiefs to open the score in the 43rd minute via a clinical shot from Arthur Zwane.
A virtuoso second goal from Mabhuti Khenyeza in the 67th minute virtually assured Chiefs of victory as the wily striker dribbled past Celtic goalkeeper Shuaib Walters and calmly slotted the ball into an empty net.
Celtic came close to scoring on several occasions in the final 15 minutes, but some spectacular goalkeeping from Itumeleng Khune kept them at bay as Chiefs went on to win at a canter.
Like Chiefs, nevertheless, Celtic are already looking towards next season for better things and owner Jimmy Augusti promised after the game that there would be something of a major upheaval in all departments in order to dispense with “dead wood”.
But unlike Chiefs, the Free State club may have to start all over again in order to become the force their zealous supporters are craving to see next season.—Sapa
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