Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 in a Premiership match played at the Petrus Molemela Stadium on Wednesday night.
With the victory, defending league champions Sundowns eased into the second position on the log standings with eight points, two behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana and midfielder Themba Zwane were particularly prominent for Sundowns.
However, it was Celtic who were in on goal early on, though Sundowns defender Motjeka Madisha was able to clear the danger.
Gradually, though, Sundowns got into gear and stamped their authority on proceedings. The Pretoria club’s Uruguayan striker Gaston Sirino created an opportunity with a clever pass, but Tebogo Langerman shot wide.
In the 16th minute, Sundowns took a 1-0 lead after captain Kekana unleashed one of his trademark long-range shots at goal. His attempt hit the woodwork, but Mosa Lebusa was at hand to steer the rebound into the net.
Sundowns continued to pile the pressure on their opponents. Kekana was again to the fore with a shot from distance, but this time the ball flew over the bar.
Celtic made a change at the start of the second half, with Maloisane Ramasimong replacing Menzi Masuku.
A few minutes into the second period, Kekana’s influence on the game continued when he was brought down in the box by Celtic’s Mbhazima Rikhotso and the referee awarded a penalty.
Zwane stepped up and calmly converted the spot-kick to give Sundowns a 2-0 advantage.
In the 69th minute, Sundowns made a substitution, with Andile Jali coming on for Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Five minutes later, the defending champions looked destined to increase their lead when Zwane’s superb curling shot was headed into the top corner, only for Celtic goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto to pull off a brilliant save to deny the midfielder.
Five minutes before the end, Celtic were able to pull a goal back after being awarded a penalty. Jali was adjudged to have handled the ball, and Celtic’s Sera Motebang scored from the penalty spot.
Sundowns then closed out the game to take the valuable three points and send out a strong reminder that they will again be among the title challengers this season.
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