Celtic hold Stars in Free State derby

The Free State was brought to a standstill, with Stars eager for revenge after going down 3-0 to their bitter rivals in the first-round fixture.

Unsurprisingly, the hosts got off to a promising start and the first chance at scoring when Siphelele Mthembu found space in the box with a shot on the turn, but Patrick Tignyemb was alert to the danger.

Celtic were content to sit back and absorb the early pressure and managed to break on the counter on a few occasions and pelted Badra Ali Sangare with shots, particularly from Lucky Baloyi.

It became a contest between the Guinean and former Kaizer Chiefs man, who forced him to pull off a spectacular save at the midway point.

Ea Lla Koto threatened once more later on towards halftime from a free-kick which found the head of Paulus Masehe but the veteran returning from suspension were unable to make it count.

Both sides made a fast start in the second half, with Stars going in front following an outstanding strike by Goodman Dlamini.

The lead didn’t last long, albeit five minutes when Victor Letsoalo capitalised on poor goalkeeping by Sangare for an easy tap-in.

In a bid to regain the lead, Luc Eymael decided to bring on Sinethemba Jantjie at the midway point and it nearly paid off when the latter flashed a free-kick narrowly wide.

With the game closing out, Stars brought their final attacking change in Mohamed Anas for the goal-scorer Dlamini.

As time ran out for both sides, so too were the amount of goal-mouth action and, as a result, both sides settled for a draw.