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Reports Meshack Motloung
It was third time lucky for ferocious Bloemfontein Celtic who had to rely on a penalty shootout to beat Orlando Pirates 4-3 in their pulsating Telkom Charity Cup final at Mmabatho Stadium on Saturday.
Celtic, who had featured in the last two finals, lost both to eventual winners Mamelodi Sundowns.
The absence of Sundowns seem to have worked in favour of Phunya Selesele in more ways than one. Had Sundowns not been away honouring their Confederation Cup fixture, the Freestaters would not have qualified for the 2007 Charity Cup as they only finished fifth on the voting list.
Saturday's final between Celtic and Bucs was one of the most exciting ones seen at this venue and fans enjoyed every minute.
Khabo Zondo, new coach of the victorious Celtic, said: "I thank our supporters for their support and the players for their effort. Well done to Pirates who also gave us a good game."
Bucs' coach Bibey Mutombo was also full of praise for the victors, adding "congratulations to my team".
The more than 55000 fans who came to see their idols in action were not disappointed because every person contributed to this worthy cause.
As for the match, praise must go to Francis Chansa, the Pirates goalkeeper, who stood between his side and possibly an embarrassing defeat in the opening stages of the final.
But it was from also Chansa's mistimed fisted ball that Lebogang Mothibantwa pounced to blast the loose ball home through a forest of feet for a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.
It looked like Pirates were on a hopeless course when one of their key players, Lucky Lekgwathi, was questionably given marching orders.
Celtic, with the vocal backing of their Siwelele supporters, mounted attack after attack.
But somehow Pirates showed character as they refused to be cornered and mounted their own counter-attacks that appeared to unsettle Celtic.
There was more after the introduction of their former player Jorry Merahe and Rudzani Ramudzuli.
With some members of the Ghost already resigned to defeat and emptying the stands, Ramudzuli squeezed through a header for an equaliser with seconds left until the final whistle.
Celtic's penalties were converted by John Maduka, Petros Mahlatsi and Moses Spandeel but Sihle Ngobese had his saved by Chansa.
With teammates reluctant to take their fifth penalty kick, Chansa volunteered only for Postnett Omony to emerge the hero by saving his kick, giving Celtic the glory.
The other Bucs penalties were taken and scored by Ramudzuli, Teko Modise and Mlungisi Gumbi while Lebohang Mokoena missed the target.