Celtic fight for top-eight finish against the champions

Celtic fight for top-eight finish against the champions
Oupa Manyisa of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Ronald Pfumbidzai of Bloemfontein Celtic during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic at Loftus Stadium, Pretoria on 16 December 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday May 11, 2018. 12:00

Bloemfontein Celtic’s fight for a top-eight finish in the Absa Premiership concludes with a match against new champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Dr Molemela Stadium on 12 May 2018, kick-off at 15h00.

Celtic played to a fourth successive draw when they held 2-2 at Baroka FC on April 28. The result left the Bloemfontein side in ninth place on the log, with only goal difference keeping them outside of the top half.

Phunya Sele Sele have claimed 23 points from 14 home matches this season, though their last two turns as hosts have brought 1-1 and 0-0 draws against AmaZulu and Chippa United respectively.

Sundowns secured an eighth PSL title when they defeated Ajax Cape Town 3-1 at home on April 28. The Tshwane side have put together a 12-match unbeaten run and will look to extend that in the final game of their domestic season.

The Brazilians have claimed 33 points from 14 away matches this season, with their only loss on the road coming at Polokwane City in January.

In head-to-head stats, Sundowns and Celtic have met in 59 league matches since 1985. The Brazilians have claimed 30 wins compared to 13 for Phunya Sele Sele, while 16 matches have been drawn. The Bloemfontein side has claimed seven wins from 29 home matches against the Tshwane giants, suffering 14 defeats in the process.

When the teams met earlier this season, in Tshwane in December 2017, ‘Downs claimed an emphatic 4-1 victory thanks to goals from Thokozani Sekotlong, Tiyani Mabunda, Percy Tau and Themba Zwane. Celtic have not won at home against the Brazilians since the 2005/06 season.

Celtic’s line-up from their 2-2 draw with Baroka on April 28: Tignyemb, Letsoalo, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Gordinho, Lubisi, Motshegwa, Baloyi, Hotto, Phalane, Nyundu.

Sundowns’ line-up from their 3-1 win over Ajax on April 28: Onyango; Langerman, Madisha, Nascimento, Morena, Mabunda, Kekana, Vilakazi (Manyisa 76’), Zwane, Billiat (Laffor 88’), Tau.

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