Bloem Celtic beat SuperSport United to advance to MTN8 final

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CAPE TOWN – Bloemfontein Celtic are through to the final of the MTN8 after a thoroughly composed 1-0 (2-1 aggregate) victory over defending champions SuperSport United.

They will meet the winners of the second semi-final between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs scheduled for today at FNB Stadium. Pirates lead 3-0 after the first leg last week.

It was Victor Letsoalo’s lone second half strike that separated the teams the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium and ensured that Phunya Sele Sele will feature in their second consecutive Cup final after also competing in last season’s Nedbank Cup showpiece.

SuperSport certainly had chances of their own to take the advantage, with the first one going going abegging as early as the very first minute.

Jamie Webber was the culprit with the central midfielder pushing his short wide after picking up a ricochet in the Celtic box.

Matsatsantsa continued to press with Bradley Grobler often finding himself unmarked in goal threatening positions. The veteran striker had an afternoon to forget though, although he would have felt aggrieved with an early penalty appeal being turned down.

Grobler could have no such excuses, however, when he had a golden chance to level the game on the day in the 75th minute. A floated ball into the box found Grobler with acres of space, but he only managed to header the ball over the Celtic bar with no opposing defender in sight. It could have been the catalyst SuperSport were seeking to kickstart their comeback, but instead it was just frustration for Katiano Tembo’s side.

There was one final opportunity to stage a late rally when second-half substitute Iqraam Rayners delivered a pin-point cross into the box. Unfortunately for the vistiors on this occasion, City keeper Jackson Mabokgwane was there to smother Thamsanqa Gabuza’s free header.

“When we started the game we started a bit slow because we knew SuperSport would come at us. We knew we had to contain them and if we could do this, we would come back later and create opportunities of our own,” Celtic coach John Maduka said.

Progression to the MTN8 final is another major fillip for Maduka and his coaching staff. Celtic’s off-field problems have been well documented with owner Max Tshabalala under heavy financial strain, with players previously going on strike and refusing to train because of non-payment of salaries.

But somehow Maduka has managed to get his charges to put the off-field chaos aside to remain focused on getting the job done. They certainly have in this season’s MTN8 by despatching league champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the first round and now the defending champions. It is no surprise they don’t fear facing either of the Soweto giants in the final.

“You can’t choose. They both guns. It’s our second final in a short time. We have learnt from the last one. It’s going to be massive,” Maduka said.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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