The Brazilians opened the scoring through Katlego Mphela, Phunya Sele Sele replied through Thokozani Mshengu, and the visitors ended the game with ten men after Lebohang Mokoena was sent off with just over 15 minutes to play after picking up his second yellow card.
The match started at a fierce pace, with play running from end-to-end as both teams set out to play attacking football. Sadly, the venue was barely half full by the time of kick-off but those that did make the effort to come out were treated to some fine entertainment.
Sundowns very nearly opened the scoring within the first five minutes, as Mabhuti Khenyeza forced a diving save from Patrick Tignyemb in the Celtic goal and Matthew Pattison was unlucky to see his long range effort rebound off the base of the upright.
In the seventh minute the Brazilians were rewarded for their positive start, with Katlego Mphela opening the scoring with a well-executed diving header. The architect of the goal was Franklin Cale, who played in a superb cross from the right flank.
Celtic very nearly drew themselves level just three minutes later, handing Thokozani Mshengu a shooting opportunity after some slick passing, but the winger’s low shot thundered into the post and rebounded to safety.
Both sides enjoyed periods of dominance in the remainder of the first half, though some good defending ensured that the attackers were mostly restricted to speculative long range efforts.
The exception arrived on the stroke of half time, as Phunya Sele Sele sprang away on a counter attack, Moses Spandeel found himself one-on-one with Wayne Sandilands, but he unselfishly handed Mshengu a tap-in to bring the scores level at 1-1.
And in the 74th minute Lebohang Mokoena was shown a red card, reducing the visitors to ten men. The attacker had gone down on the edge of the Celtic box under a challenge from Prince Hlela but the referee judged it to be simulation and showed Mokoena a second yellow card. Television replays suggested that Victor Gomes got the decision spot-on.
In what remained of the game, Celtic dominated possession but were unable to force home the advantage. The closest they came to claiming a winner was in the 87th minute when Bacela was presented with a sharp chance, Sandilands made a crucial save and the rebound off Matthew Booth bounced wide of the target.