Mamelodi Sundowns beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in MTN8
Posted: 6 August 2011 Time: 16:52
Mamelodi Sundowns beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 in their MTN8 quarter-final on Saturday afternoon.
A header from Mabhuti Khenyeza in the 79th minute sends the Brazilians through.
The home side worked their way into the game after a slow start, but after some tactical substitutions in the second half they played with more urgency and were rewarded late in the game.
The winner from Khenyeza came from a corner as his well-angled header left Celtic keeper Patrick Tignyemb keeper with no chance.
In the early exchanges Punch Masenamela pulled up gingerly running onto a ball, indicating a injury, but he made a quick recovery.
Both teams looked rusty in the first half hour with no real creativity in attack.
The pitch was in bad condition, with the occasional green patch breaking up the predominant brown.
New Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens seemed to have little effect on his team's attacking prowess in the first half with the home side not doing much with most of the possession.
Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela was introduced in the second half for Down and had an immediate impact.
He reeled off a powerful shot from the edge of the area in the 62nd minute that had Tignyemb diving full stretch to keep his side level.
As the game headed into the last quarter, Sundowns started to land more passes and looked threatening on attack.
Teko Modise controlled the ball well, while having the odd go at goal himself.
The momentum swayed in favour of Sundowns with little time left, and Khenyeza had the final say in a match where goal opportunities were few.
Speaking after the match Neeskens praised the visitors' defence.
"The pace was lacking [in the first half] because we were playing against a well-organised defence and they didn't give us very much space," said Neeskens.
"It was not easy to play the one-two touch game because of their tight defence.
"I said to them [at half-time], have patience. On the sides with [Franklin] Cale and [Elias] Pelembe in one-on-one situations, they have to do more and sometimes they crossed each other when they should not have.
"In the end I think we deserved the win because we had more possession and we tried to win this game more than they did."