Two goals by Lerato Lamola ensured a 2-0 home victory for Bloemfontein Celtic in the Absa Premiership against Mpumalanga Black Aces on Sunday.
After coming off a confident win in their previous encounter in the Nedbank Cup, Bloemfontein Celtic were in the mood to take the chance to move up the log as they faced Mpumalanga Black Aces at home. As early as the 5th minute, Celtic midfielder Musa Nyatama saw his effort well saved by the Black Aces keeper Bafana Nhlapo. Celtic’s second real chance came in the 22nd minute as defender Musa Bilankulu’s headed effort failed to connect with the back of the net as he saw his shot sail over the net, much to the relief of the Aces keeper, who was nowhere near the ball.
Amazayoni found an opening despite the pressure being exerted on them by the home team and it was Tendai Ndoro who combined well with Thabo Qalinge to tee the winger up for a shot but Qalinge blasted the ball beyond the goal and beyond reach.
In the 35 minute, at the other end of the pitch, Black Aces shot-stopper Nhlapho was called into action and produced a fantastic save to prevent Phunya Sele Sele from taking lead via Nyatma.
The half-time break brought some much needed rest and it was only 5 minutes into the new half that the hosts took the lead. Celtic striker Lerato Lamola was intelligent enough to capitalise on a communication error between keeper and defender and it was the resulting easy tap in that eventually broke the dead-lock between the two teams.
In the 55th minute, Lamola was at it again, stamping his name all over the game as he scored his second goal of the afternoon. A wisely delayed run into the box saw Lamola on the receiving end of a gracious cross from the right and there was little that he could do wrong as he shot the ball past Nhlapo to make it 2-0.
Black Aces were showing no signs of giving up as their strategies shifted from absorbing pressure to counter-attacking play. Keegan Buchanan’s shot was unfortunate not to find the back of the net as it hit the cross bar while the home defence was nowhere to be found. In the 63 minute, Aces winger Themba Zwane should have made it 2-1 only for his shot go high over the cross bar. It became evident in stoppage time that despite their worthy but late onslaught, Aces were not going to get their goal. A two-footed tackle on Celtic striker Gabadini Mhango in the 86th minute saw Aces reduced to 10 men as Mbulelo Mabizela was shown red. The contest ended 2-0 which sees Bloemfontein Celtic remain in the top 8 of the Absa Premiership standings.