After the high of knocking Orlando Pirates out of the Telkom Knockout this past weekend, Phunya Sele Sele picked up where they left off with an early goal from Lennox Bacela, but a brace from Cuthbert Malajila handed the Bloem side their fourth defeat from five away matches.
Celtic got off to a flying start and opened the scoring in the third minute. Bacela picked up on a pass from Mduduzi Nyanda before sending a curling right-footed shot beyond the reach of Shuaib Walters.
The Team of Choice recovered from Celtic’s early blitz and got themselves level in the 17th minute. Orlando Smeekes teed-up Malajila and the Zimbabwean striker beat Patrick Tignyemb with a low shot into the bottom corner.
The goal inspired Maritzburg to move up a couple of gears and they duly took the lead for the first time on 25 minutes when Malajila netted his second, latching onto a pass from strike partner Terrence Mandaza before beating the keeper.
Maritzburg shuffled their midfield at half-time, introducing Ryan De Jong in place of on-loan Kaizer Chiefs player Mthokozisi Yende. De Jong almost extended his side’s advantage on 63 minutes with a lob that hit the woodwork.
Celtic used Letladi Madubanya, Siyabonga Nontshinga and Lyle Lakay off their substitutes’ bench, but were unable to create any clear scoring chances with which to get back on level terms.