Bloemfontein Celtic and their cheering fans scooped a league double over Orlando Pirates with a 1-0 victory at the Free State Rugby stadium in an entertaining Absa Premiership encounter on Monday. The Buccaneers were without the services of star midfielders Oupa Manyisa and Happy Jele due to suspension and injury respectively. Victory against a Celtic side that has only lost once at home this season was always going to be a tough task for former Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic and his lacklustre troops as they conceded early in the match.
Frank Mhango received a long range pass and isolated Siyabonga Sangweni in the 27th minutes to fire a shot past the approaching keeper, giving Phunya Sele Sele a well deserved lead before the half hour mark. The Sea Robbers desperately searched for an equaliser without any luck leaving Thamsanqa Gabuza to make a nuisance of himself in the 33rd minute when he tried to score straight from a ong ball but Patrick Tignyemb minimised the danger to ensure the boys from Free State went to the break leading 1-0.
Pirates saw much of the ball early in the second stanza but their attempts were not venomous. Tlou Segolela and Lennox Bacela were introduced in place of Sifiso Myeni and Gabuza to try and beef up their attack and were almost rewarded as the match approached the final 20 minutes but the ball was cleared off the line twice by Celtic’s defense from different set pieces. Ernst Middendorp’s men did score in the dying minutes of the match but the flag was already up for offside as they held on to bag maximum points that sent them to sixth spot on the log with 40 points.