SUBSTITUTE Elias Pelembe netted the winning goal in the dying seconds of injury time after it seemed as if Bloemfontein Celtic had done enough to leave Tshwane with a draw.
The final score was 2-1. Erick Mathoho scored the opener, Nyasha Mushekwi equalised and Pelembe got the winner – all three goals were worth watching over again.
The opening fifteen minutes of the match were very slow in terms of action as both sides took time to get used to the greasy surface at Loftus Stadium.
In the 18th minute the first chance on goal arrived when Thokozani Mshengu swung in a cross from the right wing and found an unmarked Lennox Bacela, but he mis-timed his jump and header and couldn’t get any power or direction on it.
A couple of minutes later, Mshengu received a pass from Kgotso Moleko who did well on the right flank, but Mshengu could not keep the shot down with his weaker left foot.
This seemed to wake Sundowns up and Mphela replied a minute later with a cross from the right side of the area that just evaded his teammates and missed the far post by a few inches.
Then in the 26th minutes, Celtic opened the scoring through Erick Mathoho. The giant centre back got his head on the end of an in-swinging Clifford Mulenga free kick and used the pace of the ball to glance his header downwards and into the far corner.
Sundowns ended the half throwing everything at the visitors and can thank goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb for some fantastic saves. He first denied Nyasha Mushekwi from close range when the Zimbabwean got in between two defenders.
And then Tignyemb did brilliantly to keep out Katlego Mphela’s low shot across goal.
Danny Venter had to replace Phenyo Mongala in the first half after the Botswana winger hurt his hamstring during an attacking foray down the left flank.
Five minutes into the second half Wayne Sandilands made two excellent saves to keep out Mshengu and then Bacela who pounced on the rebound after the first save parried the ball into his path.
Then Sundowns replied through Nyasha Mushekwi’s bullet of a volley. A mis-hit cross from right found its way to Mushekwi who controlled the ball well, swivelled and struck a volley with so much venom that Tignyemb did not move.
In the 63rd minute Mushekwi missed a glorious chance to give his team the lead when he blasted over from close range in a snap shot situation.
Mulenga came close when he hit the post in the final ten minutes, but it took a moment of magic from substitute Elias Pelembe who buried a volley at the far post deep into optional time to secure the full points for Sundowns.
Sundowns (0) 1 (Mathoho 26’)
Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 2 (Mushekwi 55’ Pelembe 90’)
Sundowns: Sandilands – Mphahlele, Daniels, Mwanjale, Khumalo (Xulu 81’) – Nyatama, Kekana, Moriri (Okpako 76’), Cale (Pelembe 51’) – Mushekwi, Mphela
Celtic: Tignyemb – Moleko, Nthethe, Mathoho, Hlela – Mshengu (Oerson 71’), Kerspuy, Madubanya, Mongala (Venter 33’) – Mulenga – Bacela (Mofokeng 61’).
In another league match, AmaZulu thrashed Ajax Cape Town with a 4-0 drubbing in Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. Stanton Lewis scored a brace with another two goals scored by Tangeni Shipahu and Ayanda Dlamini.-Backpagepix