Bloemfontein Celtic made hard work of their Nedbank Cup Round of 32 clash against Super Eagles at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Sunday, eventually claiming a hard-fought 2-1 win over their lower league opponents.
Rendani Ndou scored a late winner for the Absa Premiership club following goals from Neo Maema and Motsamai Moloi looked sure to send the game into extra-time.
Celtic made nine changes to the squad that lost away to SuperSport United last time out, but were still expected to make light work of the ABC Motsepe League outfit, who suffered relegation from the National First Division last season.
Maema duly opened the scoring following a sustained spell of pressure in the 25th minute of the match.
The midfielder’s curling effort from the edge of the area left Gontse Motaung with no chance. The ball burst through the net causing a moments confusion in the process, but the referee was alert to what happened a rightfully pointed to the middle of the pitch.
Siwelele should’ve doubled their lead in the 33rd minute following a careless bit of play by Makhobeni Mngomezulu who handled the ball in the area. Tshegofatso Mabasa, though, failed to convert from the spot with the Eagles shot-stopper producing a top save.
Vincent Lesuoa should’ve levelled matters on the cusp of halftime, but scuffed his effort wide with the goal at his mercy as Celtic carried a narrow lead into the tunnel at the break.
Celtic were made to rue a string of missed chances in the second half as Moloi fired home the equaliser in the 61st minute. The second-half substitutes’ deflected free-kick leaving the Phunya Sele Sele goal-minder with no chance.
The game looked destined for 30 minutes of extra-time with both teams guilty of some poor decision making in the final third of the pitch.
Ndou, though, had other ideas and struck home the winner in the 88th minute to spare Celtic’s blushes. The forward darted into the area, bamboozled his way past one defender before finding the back of the net to send Siwelele into the next round of the competition.
Super Eagles (0) 1 (Moloi 61′)
Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 2 (Maema 25′ Ndou 88′)
Super Eagles: G.Motaung; Mngomezulu (Moloi 46′), T.Mofokeng, Kambule (Setsumi 89′), B.Mofokeng (Shibure 82′), Lesuoa, Noosi, M. Mofokeng, Mahlaba, B. Motaung, Tshabalala.
Bloemfontein Celtic: Dambe; Lingwati, Pfumbidzai, K.Mofokeng (Phalane 84′), Maema, Potsane (Dlamini 83′), Mabasa, Sam, Shikweni, Tani, Letsoalo (Ndou 62′).