Former Flames striker John Maduka’s Bloemfontein Celtic moved into the top-eight in the DStv Premiership after playing to a 1-1 draw against Chippa United on Saturday afternoon.
Youngster Regan van der Ross, who netted on debut in midweek, made his second start for Celtic, while Chippa featured Sizwe Mdlinzo and handed Anthony Laffor a first league start this season.
Siwelele Sa Masele made a promising start on 11 minutes when Lucky Baloyi drew a foul from Mduduzi Sibeko to win a penalty, which Victor Letsoalo comfortably tucked away.
Peter Maloisane went close to level matters for Chippa minutes later with a darting run towards the centre of the area, but he was not able to beat goalkeeper Sipho Chaine.
Coach Dan Malesela decided to revive his initial stall seven minutes to halftime, as Eva Nga replaced Maloisane Mokhele with Sibeko sacrificed for new signing Thamsanqa Sangweni.
This instantly sparked the Chilli Boys to life after a first-time volley from the inside-right of the area by Andile Mbenyane brought Chaine to sharp reflexes.
Celtic finished the first half with 10 players moments towards the interval, as Tshepo Rikhotso got a straight red card for a rash challenge on Laffor.
Malesela’s charges looked to hit the ground early on in the second half from a few half-chances involving Nga and striker-partner Mbenyane, but Celtic steadied ship to smother.
Siwelele had chances to double their lead towards the closing stages, but Ndumiso Mabena in particular could not make the openings count.
This then allowed the Chilli Boys to go on and bag the equaliser a little before time when Nga side-footed a left-footed cross from Riaan Hanamub into the top corner from the centre of the area.
Celtic pushed for a turnaround late in the clash through the likes of Ryan De Jongh and Mabena, but a stalemate was how matters concluded in the Free State.— Kickoff.com