Mamelodi Sundowns became the second team after Bidvest Wits to book their spot in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals after edging Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 on Saturday evening, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Pitso Mosimane’s side started the brighter of the two teams and came close to taking the lead in the seventh minute, but skipper Hlompho Kekana’s curling effort went inches wide of the mark.
The home side maintained their high tempo start and almost broke the deadlock minutes later but defender Lorenzo Gordinhop did well to thwart out the danger of defender Tebogo Langerman.
Masandawana were a bit hard done by just past the half hour mark when Gaston Sirino and Toni Silva combined and appeared to have beaten the offside trap, however the referee decided otherwise despite replays suggesting that the duo had in fact been onside.
Andile Jali came close to opening the lead for the home side minutes before the half-time break, but goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb proved equal to the task, saving the Bafana Bafana international;’s long-range effort.
The second half saw Sundowns dominate in a similar manner to that for the first, with Sirino, again coming close to opening the lead for his side just after the restart of the second-half.
Tignyemb, who was having a flyer made another fine save to deny Silva’s goal bound effort in the 50th minute. Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango was called into action fort there first time in the game in the 56th minute, keeping his wits about him to ensure that the scoreline remained goalless.
Sundowns eventually broke the deadlock on the hour mark when Sirino ran onto Hlompho Kekana’s well-weighted pass to slot home past the goalkeeper.
Indicative of the game’s free flowing nature, the first card of the clash was dished out in the 65th minute to Sundowns skipper Kekana for a late tackle.
Sundowns were able to see the remainder of the game off with relative ease to become the second team to book their spot in the 2018 Telkom Knockout quarter-finals alongside defending champions Bidvest Wits.
Sundowns: 14. Onyango, 20. Ngcongca, Lebusa, Nascimento, 4. Langerman, 5. Jali, 8. Kekana, 15. Maboe, 18. Zwane, 26. Sirino, 24. Silva,.
Subs: 1. Mweene, 13. Mabunda, 32. Madisha, 23. Lakay, 34. Mahlambi, 22. Brockie, 7. Meza.
Celtic: 31. Tignyemb, 5. Letlabika, 3. Pfumbidza, 22. Rikhotso, 10. Mabena, 18. Mashikinya, 50. Masuku, 25. Gordinho, 4. Dlamini, 8. Phalane, 13. Letsoalo.
Subs: 34. Dambe, 19. Sam, 17. Mabasa, 14. Maema, 35. Motshegwa, Shikweni, 20. De Jongh.