merciless Stars

Thabo Johnson

Thabo Johnson

Platinum Stars beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 in an Absa Premiership match at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium yesterday, to add to Phunya Selesele's woes.

Former South African junior international Phumudzo Manenzhe scored a brace to earn the Tycoons maximum points.

Manenzhe easily beat veteran goalkeeper Simon Gopane with a fine header after connecting with a cross from Koketso Mmotong in the 48th minute.

The lanky striker completed his brace in the 52nd minute when he capitalised on a defensive error by Celtic's Cyrille Mubiala and dribbled past Gopane to make it 2-0.

The win saw Stars move closer to the top eight bracket. They are now ninth on 28 points from 22 games.

The defeat leaves 12th placed Phunya Selesele with a mammoth task in their quest to finish well inside the top eight bracket.

The first half lacked spark as both sides were cautious in their approach and huffed and puffed in search of an early goal.

Play swung from one end to the other with the two sides having a fair share of ball possession midway through the first half.

Both sides could not take advantage of set-pieces.

But Stars were business-like in the second half, unlike the hosts who were desperate to turn the corner after a string of poor results that led to coach Khabo Zondo being fired and recalled within a week.

Celtic made two substitutions when Lebohang Kukame and Mark Mayambela came on for Saul Mmethi and Lucky Mzizi in an effort to change the complexion of the game.

But the changes proved to be futile as the visitors continued dictating terms.

As the game progressed, Kukame and teammate Moses Spandeel each squandered golden scoring opportunities.

Spandeel had his effort cleared by goalie Wayne Sandilands and later a rebound was cleared on the line by Sailor Tshabalala in the 77th minute.

Kukame's miss came in the 86th minute when he narrowly shot wide with Sandilands way out of position. Referee Robert Smith booked Stars' players Joseph Mkhalipa and Stanley "Bingo" Kgatla for rough play.

Despite the result, Siwelele (Celtic fans) didn't flag as they encouraged coach Zondo to try and change the team's fortunes.