Bloemfontein Celtic and Cape Town City played out a goalless stalemate in their DStv Premiership clash at the Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Wednesday afternoon.
The result sees Phunya Sele Sele extend their winless run to six league matches and remain in 11th place on the log, just three points above the relegation playoff spot, while the Citizens snapped a two-game losing streak and remain in seventh.
City suffered an early injury blow when defender Abubaker Mobara hurt himself while making a vital block, leading to the 16th-minute introduction of Keanu Cupido.
Despite the early setback, the Cape side were the more fluid and controlled outfit, with Fagrie Lakay proving a dangerous attacking outlet – especially when it took a last-gasp block from Tshepo Rikhotso to prevent the City player striking on target midway through the first half.
Justin Shonga was also a menacing presence for the home team’s defence to deal with, as the Zambian created several half chances around the 30-minute mark, the best of which he struck just wide of goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane’s left-hand post.
Celtic struggled to find an attacking rhythm through most of the half, though they threatened to break through on 37 minutes when Ndumiso Mabena looked set to go through on goal, only for Thamsanqa Mkhize to bring him down and earn a yellow card – very much a case of ‘taking one for the team’.
Goalless at the half-time break, the teams picked up in the second half where they left off in the first, with City looking dangerous through the pace of Lakay, while Celtic continued to grow in confidence.
In fact, the hosts should have claimed the lead just before the hour mark, as Mabena directed an effort on target after some defensive chaos in the City penalty area, but Terrence Mashego was well placed to clear off his own goal line.
In an effort to wrestle back control of the game and boost their attack in the final 15 minutes of regulation time, City introduced Tashreeq Morris, Aubrey Ngoma and Mduduzi Mdantsane off the bench in a triple substitution.
However, neither set of players was able to find a decisive attacking moment in the remainder of the match, though Celtic did have a few nervy moments at the death after the 87th-minute sending off of defender Steven Mereko for a second bookable offence.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action next midweek, with Celtic visiting Chippa United on Tuesday, 18 May and City hosting Maritzburg United on Wednesday, 19 May.
Celtic: Mabokgwane, Baloyi, Rikhotso, Lingwati, Mereko, Mashikinya (Sera 84’), Kobedi, Maema, Mabena, Potsane (Van Der Ross 76’), Letsoalo
City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhiza, Fielies, Mobara (Cupido 16’), Mashego, Martin, Mokeke, Makola (Mdantsane 74’), Ajagun (Nodada 55’), Lakay (Ngoma 74’), Shonga (Morris 74’).© Backpage TXT