Bloem Celtic edge past SuperSport into MTN8 final
Bloemfontein Celtic booked a place in the final of the MTN8 with a 1-0 win over defending champions SuperSport United in the second leg of their semifinal at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Mangaung on Saturday.
Celtic advanced 2-1 on aggregate after they played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville last weekend they will play against the winner of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates who meet on Sunday.
Victor Letsoalo’s second-half lone goal proved decisive as it ensured that Celtic will appear in their second successive major cup final as they lost to Mamelodi Sundowns in the last match of the Nedbank Cup in September.
On the other hand‚ this defeat is a blow for United who have missed out on an opportunity of appearing in their fourth successive MTN8 final.
United could have got off to a dream start but Jamie Webber forgot the basics of scoring by rushing his shot wide of the upright when maintaining composure and finding the target was the better option.
Shortly‚ referee Thando Ndzandzeka was in the spotlight as he waved play-on after United striker Bradley Grobler stamped on the heel of Mzwanele Mahashe in the box to leave Celtic players fuming as they wanted a penalty.
Both teams created chances with Ndumiso Mabena‚ Letsoalo and Siphelele Luthuli in the forefront for Celtic and Grobler‚ Thamsanqa Gabuza and Gamphani Lungu for United‚ but they could not break the deadlock.
United were denied the lead after 35 minutes by Ndzandzeka who ruled that Gabuza pushed Celtic defender Tshepo Rikhotso before he headed home from close range to beat Jackson Mabokgwane.
Given Mashikinya took a quick free-kick inside his own half that found alert Victor Letsoalo who shielded the ball from Siyabonga Nhlapo before beating Ronwen Williams after 50 minutes for the opener.
Shortly after the goal‚ United coach Kaitano Tembo made a triple substitution with Iqraam Rayners coming on for Webber‚ Evans Rusike replacing Lungu and Kudakwashe Mahachi on for Waiswa Ndhondhi‚ but it did not produce the desired results.
Just after the hour mark‚ Celtic could have increased their lead and possibly ensured a place in the final but attackers Letsoalo and Mabena dilly-dallied in the box and let United off the hook.
A few minutes later‚ United responded with attack of their own that saw Rayners deliver a well-taken cross into the box for Gabuza whose diving header flew safely in the hands of Mabokgwane.
With the Fifa window next week‚ both teams will return to league action in a fortnight with United visiting Orlando Pirates on November 21 and Bloemfontein Celtic travelling to Cape Town City the following day.