Good win for Celtic
Posted: 19 August 2009 Time: 21:50
Bloemfontein Celtic’s trip down to Cape Town proved to be a fruitful one as they beat Santos 1-0 at Newlands Stadium on Wednesday night.
Celtic, playing in front of a vocal band of their own supporters, only really dominated the game for the final 20 minutes of the first half and the opening five minutes of the second half – other than that Santos had the better of play but struggled to convert their chances.
The home team certainly had the better of the opening exchanges, having the upperhand for most of the opening 20 minutes.
But after creating a first minute chance through Eleazar Rodgers, whose well-struck effort flew straight at goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters, the Cape side had little to show in terms of goal-scoring opportunities.
It was, in fact, the visitors who came closest to scoring early on when Motsere Mothlaping’s header flew inches over the Santos bar.
And despite being unable to mount any periods of sustained pressure, Celtic took the lead in the 24th minute when former Swallows striker Sandile Ndlovu fired the ball against his own player, Moses Spandeel. The ball deflected straight back to Ndlovu, who gleefully slotted home from 10-yards out with a low shot.
A well-worked free-kick from the team in green should have resulted in Ndlovu netting a second goal after 35 minutes, but his volley from inside the box was well over the bar.
Following the restart, it was Phunya Sele Sele who looked sharper in attack, with Ndlovu and Spandeel a constant menace up-front.
But it was Santos who went on to create the better chances as first Wayne Arendse headed an Erwin Isaacs free-kick over the bar, and then in the 71st minute, Romano Scott was desperately unlucky to see his stunning volley crash into the upright.
More pressure came from the Cape side as Arendse fired in another shot from inside the box in the 75th minute, but his effort struck a wall of Celtic defenders.
Santos continued to push hard for an equaliser in the closing stages, but the Celtic defence did well to keep them at bay.
Phunya Sele Sele defender Billy Ratsoana received his marching orders in the 90th minute for a second yellow card, but that would hardly have soured Celtic’s evening as they picked up their first win on the new season.