Bloemfontein Celtic booked their place in the Telkom Knockout final after defeating Polokwane City 4-3 on penalties at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday, writes Dylan Appolis.
Bernard Molekwa’s men made their way into the semi-final for the first time in the history of the club’s existence after defeating Orlando Pirates 4-2 on penalties in the quarterfinal of the competition.
Veselin Jelusic’s side had also booked their place in the last four after they came from behind to beat Platinum Stars 2-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on 4 November.
The match at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium got off to a relatively quiet start, with both sides trying to settle into the game in the opening exchanges of the match.
Celtic produced the first opportunity of the match, but Roggert Nyundu could not convert Ndumiso Mabena’s cross inside the area after a good build of play from the visiting side.
Patrick Tigneymb came to his side’s rescue on the half-hour mark when he produced a fine save to deny Walter Musona’s venomous strike from outside the area.
Neither side could find the opening goal in the first 45 minutes of the game as the match went into the half-time interval locked at 0-0.
Rise and Shine came close to breaking the deadlock in the 56th minute when Rodney Ramagalela unleashed a strike from outside the area, but the striker steered his attempt across the face of goal as the scoreline remained goalless.
Polokwane shot-stopper George Chigova came off his line and produced a great save to deny Mahlasela, who only had the goalkeeper to beat.
Rendani Ndou should’ve put his side ahead in the 73rd minute when he made his way through on goal before driving an effort at goal, but the forward failed to hit the target with his attempt.
Polokwane nearly took the lead 10 minutes later after Jabulani Maluleke’s goal-bound free kick forced Tignyemb into making a great save to deny the midfielder’s effort from outside the box.
The match went into extra time when neither side could find the winning goal after 90 minutes of play.
However, Mabaso eventually broke the deadlock in the first half of extra time after Celtic produced a well-worked free kick to find Mabena, who slotted the ball into the net from close range.
Ndou then levelled matters six minutes later when he rose the highest to head from close range after latching on to a corner from Maluleke to make it 1-1.
The game was forced into a penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes of play, where Bloem Celtic came out victorious as they clinched a 4-3 win on penalties to book their place in the final of the competition.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix