Bloemfontein Celtic have squeezed into the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup after defeating Richards Bay 1-0 at the Free State Stadium on Saturday night.
Phunya Sele Sele edged the Natal Rich Boyz of the National First Division thanks to a second-half strike from Tshegofatso Mabaso, and join Cape Umoya United, Cape Town City, Chippa United and Golden Arrows in the next round of the competition.
Celtic created the first clear chance of the match, with Kabelo Dlamini putting Tshegofatso Mabaso into space in the 14th minute, but the forward blasted his effort high and wide.
At the other end of the field, on 28 minutes, goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb dwelt too long on the ball and was dispossessed by Bay’s Siyanda Ngubo. However, the striker was not able to pick out a pass or a lofted shot to take advantage.
Three minutes later the lively Dlamini let fly with a long-range effort which flashed just over the crossbar and certainly had Bay goalkeeper Andile Mbanjwa very worried for a second.
The match was goalless at the break, while early in the second half he NFD side went up a couple of gears and created a few promising opportunities in the final third of the field.
Yet it was Celtic who again created a clear scoring chance, this time in the 57th minute. Menzi Masuku had a storming run down the right and pulled a ball back from the goal-line to pick out Dlamini, who had a large portion of open goal to aim for but somehow directed his shot wide of the far post.
Dlamini soon paid for his miss, being replaced by Victor Letsoalo in Phunya Sele Sele’s first change of the match.
The hosts finally broke the deadlock on 66 minutes. Given Mashikinya did great work to power into the penalty area and slip a pass inside for Mabaso, who opened space with a neat turn and beat Mbanjwa with a low shot for 1-0.
Celtic were awarded a penalty a few minutes later when Masuku’s shot was blocked by the arm of defender Junaid Sait. Goalkeeper Tignyemb took on the responsibility of the spot kick but was first denied by Mbanjwa and then ballooned a shot way off target from the rebound.
Any chance the Natal Rich Boyz had of making a comeback went up in smoke in the dying minutes of regulation time when they were reduced to 10 men. Katleho Maphathe was shown a deserved red card for a reckless, studs-up challenge on Bongani Sam.
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 1 (Mabaso 66’)
Richards Bay 0
Celtic: Tignyemb, Tani, Rikhotso, Letlabika, Sam, Baloyi, Mashikinya, Masuku (Potsane 87’), Phalane, Dlamini (Letsoalo 61’), Mabaso (Mabena 77’)
R Bay: Mbanjwa, Maphathe, Mthethwa, Sait, Bernard, Kubeka, Dlamini, Madondo (Shange 73’), Gumede, Ngubo (Muishond 74’), Sekese (Erasmus 85’)