SUBSTITUTE Mabhuti Khenyeza headed home the winner within three minutes of being on the field, taking Mamelodi Sundowns past Bloemfontein Celtic and into the MTN8 semifinals.
Khenyeza came on for Franklin Cale in the 76th minute, made a few runs and in the 79th minute rose high at the near post to nod home Elias Pelembe’s corner kick.
The match certainly needed a change and Khenyeza gave it the spark it needed.
Up until the goal, there were not many goal scoring chances or exciting moments to savour. The one talking point might be Celtic’s disallowed goal for offside, although the decision did not draw too many appeals from the visitors.
Sundowns did more of the attacking throughout, with Man of the Match Elias Pelembe and a rejuvenated Teko Modise taking charge.
Pelembe bobbed and weaved like a boxer as he did his best to evade some heavy tackling from Celtic. Some of the Mozambican’s crosses were excellent, which highlighted his class.
For Celtic, who were very well organised defensively, Hlompho Kekana did his best to police Modise and Pelembe.
But once he was booked in the 52nd minute for a foul on Cale, it took some of the bite out of Siwelele’s midfield.
The first attempt on goal came after 21 minutes when Lethola Mofokeng’s low cross was gathered by Wayne Sandilands.
Other than that the goal mouth action was non-existent in a rather disappointing first half, in which Erick Mathoho shone in the heart of Celtic’s defence.
In the second half, the introduction of Katlego Mphela made an immediate impact. ‘Killer’ brought out an excellent save from Patrick Tignyemb when he drove in a powerful shot on the run.
After Khenyeza’s goal, Celtic did have two close shaves, but Moses Spandeel’s effort flew over the bar while Lennox Bacela’s near post header went just wide.
Overall, Sundowns deserved their victory having been the more enterprising team. But Celtic coach Clinton Larsen will be disappointed that his team conceded from a set-piece after defending so well otherwise.
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1 (Khenyeza 79)
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Mamelodi Sundowns: Sandilands – Mampuru, Xulu (Letlabika 60th), Mwanjale, Masenamela – Pelembe, Nyatama, Modise, Cale (Khenyeza 76) – Moriri – Mushekwi (Mphela 60th)
Bloemfontein Celtic: Tignyemb – Moleko, Nthethe, Mathoho, Hlela – Spandeel (Gamildien 87), Kekana, Kerspuy, Venter (Oerson 74) – Mofokeng (Mshengu 57), Bacela
Meanwhile Siybonga Sangweni scored his first goal on his official debut at Orlando Pirates as the Sea Robbers beat Santos 1-0 in another MTN 8 Quarter final match played at Orlando Stdium tonight. The two side failed to scored in the regulated 90 monutes until at the extra time when Sngweni slotted home with an easy goal that guaranteed the defending champions a place in the semi finals. The draw for the semi finals will be held at the Premier Soccer League offices on Monday night.