Leonardo Castro of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Victor Letsoalo of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa on 24 February 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Saturday Feb 24, 2018. 22:18
Bloemfontein Celtic held Kaizer Chiefs to a goalless stalemate in their Absa Premiership clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.
The result leaves Phunya Sele Sele in 12th place on the log, but more importantly denied the Amakhosi the chance to close the gap on leaders Mamelodi Sundowns - the Soweto side reclaimed second spot, but remain five points adrift in the title race.
Chiefs enjoyed the better chances through the opening 45 minutes, the first of which arrived early on and saw striker Leonardo Castro fire a low shot on target from the left of the penalty area, only for Patrick Tignyemb to make a fine one-handed save.
Just before the half hour mark the Soweto giants created another good opportunity when defender Siyabonga Ngezana got on the end of a left-flank cross and powered a header toward goal - his effort bounced up off the turf and flashed over the crossbar.
Another Amakhosi chance saw Castro get on the end of a knock-down from Ryan Moon, but his volleyed effort from the edge of the box was somewhat hurried and failed to trouble the Celtic ‘keeper.
Celtic had a few threatening moments in attack, with the likes of Victor Letsoala and Ndumiso Mabena occasionally finding themselves in space in the final third, but ultimately Itumeleng Khune wasn’t called upon for any serious saves.
The Chiefs ‘keeper was finally brought into significant action on the hour mark when Celtic, who had enjoyed a strong spell of possession in the five minutes prior, put together a move which gave Deon Hotto a sight of goal, but his low effort was kept out at the near post by the Bafana Bafana shot-stopper.
The Amakhosi’s lull in attack was brought to an end midway through the second half when George Maluleka tried a long-range shot which took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot Tignyemb, but passed just wide of the target.
On 74 minutes they put together a good passing movement to give Moon a sight of goal, but his powerful left-footed effort was parried to safety by Celtic’s goalkeeper, while a minute later Daniel Cardoso hit the woodwork with a header from a corner kick.
Those proved to be the last major chances for the home side, who were unable to muster any further openings against a resilient Celtic defence.
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Chiefs: Khune, Mphahlele, Cardoso, Ngezana, Zulu (Tshabalala 81’), Molangoane, Maluleka, Meyiwa, Ekstein (Parker 67’), Castro (Ntshangase 75’), Moon
Celtic: Tignyemb, Molekwane, Rikhotso, Gordinho, Pfumbidzai, Motshegwa (Dlamini 46’), Phalane, Baloyi, Hotto (Mashikinya 90+3’), Mabena, Letsoalo (Marupiing 85’)