Bloemfontein Celtic and Stellenbosch FC played out a 1-1 stalemate in their DStv Premiership clash at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Maroons claimed the lead late in the first half through Leletu Skelem, but Phunya Sele Sele struck back early in the second to see a sharing of the spoils. The result sees the Bloemfontein side two points clear of the relegation zone in 11th, while the Cape club are a further four points better and well placed in seventh.
Stellenbosch started brightly, with debutant left-back Azeemud-Deen Brenner providing some impressive thrust with his overlapping runs, while a 16th minute chance for Jayden Adams ended with the ball in the stands after a fiercely-hit but inaccurate strike.
Three minutes later Adams was involved in another threatening attack, sending Stanley Dimgba through on goal, but with only goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane to beat he slid his shot wide of the target – much to the frustration of the away side’s bench.
Just past the half-hour mark Stellies had a strong claim for a penalty waved away by referee Cheslin Plaatjies, who called on Adams to get to his feet after tumbling under a challenge in the 18-yard area.
The game looked set to reach halftime with the score line still blank, but the visitors broke the deadlock in the 44th minute. Leletu Skelem, on his return to the starting line-up, provided a crisp finish past Mabokgwane from a loose ball in the box to ensure Stellenbosch enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the break.
Celtic made a change at the start of the second half when they introduced Menzi Masuku off the bench to replace Siphelele Luthuli. The Bloemfontein side showed far more intent and intensity in the early stages of the second stanza and duly levelled the game on 57 minutes.
A counter attack caught the Maroons napping at the back and Masuku took full advantage, scoring with a shot which deflected off a defender to wrong-foot goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt and find the back of the net for 1-1.
Stellenbosch created a great chance to go back in front in the 71st minute, with Junior Mendieta and Nathan Sinkala combining to set up Skelem, who proceeded to shoot wide, failing to capitalise on some rare space in the Celtic box.
Ultimately the teams had to settle for a draw, with neither able to add to the score in the frantic final minutes when chances cropped up at either end of the field.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming midweek, with Celtic away to Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday 19 January and Stellenbosch hosting Baroka the following day.
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Masuku 57’)
Stellenbosch FC (1) 1 (Skelem 44’)
Bloemfontein Celtic: Mabokgwane, Rikhotso, Chabalala, Mahashe, Pfumbidzai (Potsane 61’), Baloyi, Mashikinya (Sera 61’), Phalane, Luthuli (Masuku 46’), Mabena (Ndwandwe 80’), Letsoalo
Stellenbosch:Langeveldt, Macheke, Bergman, Robertson, Brenner (Mbekile 74’), van Rooyen, Nange (Msengi 74’), Sinkala, Adams (Scott 63’), Skelem, Dimgba (Mendieta 63’)