Pirates through to Final
Posted: 29 November 2008 Time: 23:04
Bloemfontein Celtic’s woes continued as they crashed out of the Telkom Knockout Cup semi-final on Saturday evening losing 3-0 to Orlando Pirates in Durban at the Chatsworth Stadium.
The first half saw little goalmouth action but there was still plenty of drama thanks to referee Abdul Ebrahim, who sent off the wrong man in Geofrey Sserunkuma, leaving all confused inside the stadium as he reduce Bloemfontein Celtic to ten men. A mistake that would eventually dictate the fate of the game as Pirates made their one man advantage count in the second half.
The game started slowly with the first of only two attempts on goal falling to Dikgang Mabalane in the 12th minute. A poor backpass by the Celtic defence allowed Mabalane in on goal with only the keeper to beat, but Patrick Tignyemb in the Phunya Sele Sele goal was up to the challenge as he pulled off a brilliant save palming Mabalane’s shot around the post for a corner-kick.
Pirates controlled the possession but failed to create any clear-cut chances in front of goal. They continued to create problems for Celtic when they attacked down the flanks through Teko Modise and Mabalane leaving their respective markers for dead every time.
The only goal of the half came from the penalty spot in the 40th minute after referee Ebrahim adjudged Ditheko Mototo to have pulled down Gilbert Mushangazhike inside the box. Lucas Thwala coolly stepped up and made no mistake as he powerfully banged the ball straight down the middle, 1-0.
The controversy started seconds before the end of the half and in a game where the referee should never grab the headlines, Abdul Ebrahim made that task extremely difficult.
For no apparent reason referee Ebrahim showed Sserunkuma a straight red card in injury time after some deliberation with one of his linesmen. It seemed a case of mistaken identity but nonetheless the damage was done and Celtic were left with a mountain to climb.
The second half played out as many would expect. Celtic tried to push forward in pursuit of an equalizer and Pirates looked to hit on the break hopefully finding the goal that would kill off the game.
Phunya Sele Sele’s best chance to level matters fell to Kleinbooi Taaibos in the 58th minute. A great through ball into the box found Taaibos only six yards out from goal, but instead of taking his time he rushed his shot and consequently ballooned the ball over the bar, when he should have at least hit the target.
The more Celtic pressed forward the more opportunities Pirates seemed to create for themselves on the counter-attack. Eventually after numerous missed chances the Buccaneers wrapped up matters in the 74th minute when Benson Mhlongo doubled their lead. A cross came in from the right and missed everyone, the ball made its way through to Mhlongo at the back post who fired home from only a couple of yards out.
Substitute Bennett Chenene delivered the knockout blow for Celtic when he scored Pirates’ third goal four minutes from time. A beautiful long ball from the back found Modise on the left flank and the Bafana Bafana star produced a superb flick to steer the ball onto Chenene, who drove forward and fired off a powerful shot from the edge of the six-yard box leaving the keeper with no chance.
The game ended 3-0 to Pirates as they moved into the Final of the Telkom Knockout Cup, but truly the game was killed by referee Ebrahim, admitting after the game that he made a mistake, when he reduced Celtic to ten men before the end of the first half.