The score-line was harsh on the hosts, who appeared to have done enough until Mbulelo Mabizela conceded a penalty for an apparent hand-ball, which resulted in a lengthy hold-up in play as Owen da Gama vented his anger while unused sub Dillon Sheppard was sent off.
Early play lacked fluency or urgency as both teams tried to get control of the game, at the expense of throwing numbers forward in attack – there was little constructive play in the final third at both ends.
The game was laboured and apart from Thuso Phala’s endeavours, it was only Almiro Lobo who looked to threaten the Celtic goal as he got two shots on target; one early on and the other five minutes before the break.
The visitors’ best chances came in the final five minutes of action, through Clifford Mulenga, who nearly took advantage of some sloppy play from Mabizela and then had a volley cleared off the line by Stars keeper Tapuwa Kapini.
Play remained tight after the break, with the next real chance coming when Kapini tipped Cecil Oerson’s pile-driver over the bar with 20 minutes to go.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Stars endured some anxious moments as Celtic peppered their box. But they survived to take the lead, from the penalty spot, as Bradley Grobler converted after Patrick Tignyemb had brought down Phala.
Dikwena were on the way to victory, but with two minutes of regulation time left, Mabizela gave away a penalty, though it appeared to have been a harsh call.
However, Angelo Kerspuy made no mistake as he made it 1-1 with a coolly struck spot-kick.