Stars outshine Celtic


It was a deserved three points for the visitors, while for Celtic it was a third game in a row without a goal, and not a happy return for reinstated coach Khabo Zondo.

Stars made the brighter start and has two chances inside two minutes, both falling to Manenzhe.

He first managed just a ‘fresh air’ shot from Koketso Mmotong’s cross on 10 minutes, before being set free two minutes later, but was unable to beat the onrushing veteran stopper in the Celtic goal, Simon Gopane.

The major talking point of the half came in the 18th minute however, as Moses Spendeel was put clear on goal for Celtic, but received a tap on the ankles from defender Joseph Mkalipa just outside the box.

There was no doubt contact had been made outside the area, but referee Robert Smith was lenient in his showing of a yellow card to Mkalipa when many would have reached for the red as he prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Both coaches made changes at halftime, with the home side replacing Soul Mmethi with Lebohang Kukame, and Stars removing the lucky Mkalipa to be replaced by Michael Khaile.

The away side then struck twice in three minutes to grab the initiative. Mmotong’s excellent cross from the right was headed home by Manenzhe – without a defender in sight.

It was a poor piece of defending from Celtic, but things were to get worse soon afterwards. Edward Williams’ long ball was not dealt with at all well by defender Cyril Mubiala as his weak back-header left Gopane exposed, and Manenzhe round the keeper before slotting home.

Celtic had a good shout for a penalty turned down on 57 minutes when Stars keeper Wayne Sandilands appeared to bring down Kukame in the area, but referee Smith opted for the corner when replays showed Sandilands got nowhere near the ball.

Spandeel should have pulled one back with 13 minutes to go when he beat the offside trap, but saw his shot blocked by Sandilands. He had another bite of the cherry with the goalkeeper on the floor however, but Sailor Tshabalala was able to clear off the line from the Celtic star’s weak follow-up effort.

Kukame then flashed an effort across goal after a nice chest-down of the ball, as it became clear it would not be Phunya Sele Sele’s day.