BLOEMFONTEIN Celtic suffered a 1-0 loss to Orlando Pirates in the quarterfinals of the MTN8 at the Orlando Stadium on Friday night.
Celtic were by no mean stretch of the imagination outplayed in the quarterfinal match at Orlando Stadium. In fact, the Phunya Sele Sele traded blow for blow with the defending champions and many will argue they had the better scoring opportunities of entire 90 minutes.
But it was not to be for the side from Bloemfontein as a speculative penalty was awarded in the final ten minutes of the match, a penalty scored by Andile Jali that sealed Celtic’s fate.
The match started a little slowly and the ring rust was evident for all to see, but it was to be expected with this MTN8 match being both sides’ first official games of the 2012/13 season.
The first chance of the game came in the tenth minute as Celtic were awarded an indirect free-kick 12-yards out after Moneeb Josephs handled a back pass from Oupa Manyisa.
Kurt Lentjies touched the ball on for Ruzaigh Gamildien to shoot on goal, but he saw his low drive cleared off the goalline by the Pirates defence.
Pirates first chance came three minutes later when Benni McCarthy got onto the end of low right wing cross from Ndumiso Mabena, but he fired wide from 12-yards out.
The best chance of the first 45 only came in the final minute of the half and it took the brilliant acrobatics of Patrick Tignyemb to keep the scores level at the break.
A Buccaneers counter-attack saw Mabena volley the ball goalwards from 22-yards out, but the Celtic keeper produced a great one-handed save to deny him.
The second 45 saw the away team start the better of the sides and they came within inches of taking the lead in the 54th minute when Joel Mogorosi shot narrowly wide from just inside the box.
Four minutes later substitute Lerato Manzini should have scored for Celtic but he squandered his chance heading the ball straight at Josephs, who made a good save, after Mazini initially did well to get on the end of a left wing cross.
The game died out a bit after that, but sprang back into life in the 80th minute when the referee harshly awarded a penalty after Lentjies slipped inside the Celtic box and handled the ball.
Jali made no mistake from the spot to give Pirates the lead and send them into the semifinals of the MTN8.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Jali 82’ pen) Josephs; Lekgwathi, Sangweni, Mahamutsa (Phungwayo 87’), Gcaba, Myeni, Jali, Manyisa (Moholo 70’), Klate, Mabena (Mbuyane 67’), McCarthy
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 0
Celtic: Tignyemb; Leonard, Isaacs, Mothlaping, Mahoa, Mogorosi, Motshegwa (Manzini 58’), Nthethe, Gamildien (Nontshinga 84’), Bacela (Lakay 69’), Lentjies.-www.backpagepix.co.za