Celtic go down to Bucs
Posted: 17 December 2008 Time: 22:12
The festive season is turning out to be anything but cheerful for under-pressure Bloemfontein Celtic coach Mich D'Avray, as his side fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Orlando Pirates at the Johannesburg Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Goals from Bennett Chenene, Thembile Kanono and Lucas Thwala saw the Buccaneers bounce back from the disappointment of their loss to Ajax Cape Town in the Telkom Knockout and condemn Celtic to their seventh loss in just 13 games this season.
D'Avray's team have yet to win the road, and against a determined Pirates outfit that were desperate to get back to winning ways, they never likely to. The home team may have been missing talisman Teko Modise, but it will have pleased coach Ruud Krol to see his side perform despite the absence of their inspirational no.11.
Pirates had a couple of early chances, with Lucky Lekgwathi and Thwala trying their hand at shooting on goal from range, though neither was able to hit the target and trouble goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb.
The Buccaneers dominated the play in the opening quarter, but it was Celtic who so nearly opened the scoring in the 20th minute, with Patrick Malokase forcing Moeneeb Josephs into a good parrying save.
On 25 minutes, Pirates' Kanono, fulfilling the playmaker role for the team in black due to Modise's absence, missed out on a great chance to break the deadlock when he lifted his shot over the crossbar from 12 yards out.
Chenene finally broke Celtic's resistance in the 32nd minute when he latched onto a pass from Benson Mhlongo and fired the ball past Tignyemb to put Bucs 1-0 ahead.
It was a lead the hosts held until half time, though they were lucky not to be pegged back by Celtic's Geoffrey Sserunkuma when he shot just wide in the 44th minute.
Just before the interval, Pirates' mounting injury concerns were increased when former Celtic midfielder Lebogang Mothibantwa was forced off with injury. His place was taken by Mlungisi Gumbi.
Any hopes Phunya Sele Sele had of coming back into the game were all but eliminated when Kanono found the back of the net in the 50th minute with a well taken shot that had Tignyemb beaten all ends up.
D'Avray threw on veteran striker Shaun Bartlett in an attempt to beef up his attack, and the former Bafana Bafana star fired a shot just wide of the left hand upright in the 67th minute.
However, within a minute of Bartlett's effort, Pirates headed up the other end of the field and made it 3-0 when Thwala scored direct from a free kick after the slippery Siphelele Mthembu had been fouled by Thabo Nthethe just outside the 18-yard area.
Rooi Mahamutsa almost added a fourth when he crashed a right footed shot against the crossbar with 10 minutes to play. Pirates' night was ever so slightly soured when they were reduced to 10 men after Dikgang Mabalane picked up his second yellow card of the night for a silly foul on Keamogetse Wolff.
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