Lebogang Manyama missed a golden chance near the end of the game to hand Cape Town City a valuable victory in their title chase but they had to settle for just one away on a difficult trip to relegation-haunted Bloemfontein Celtic in the Absa Premiership on Saturday evening.
Manyama thundered a left footed effort against the crossbar with just seven minutes left in a grandstand finish after a largely lethargic opening 80 minutes.
It was an excellent opportunity to take a three point lead at the top of the standings and put Manyama in the lead in the goal scorers’ race and, on reflection, he might have gone for a less spectacular finish to make sure of putting it into the back of the net.
City are, nevertheless, top of the table, one point above Bidvest Wits but having played two games more, and still genuine title contenders but they will depart the Free State feeling they might have got more out of the game.
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Manyama also fluffed an opportunity at the back post after 15 minutes after Aubrey Ngoma’s run and cross as both sides battled with a very poor pitch at the Molemela Stadium, which had just been subjected to a major renovation some 18 months ago.
Manyama also had a good chance some 20 minutes later when City burst out on one of their characteristically lightening counter attacks but a left footed effort from the skipper went sailing well side to the obvious frustration of his coach Eric Tinkler.
Celtic had been hoping to have new coach Luc Eymael on the bench but his registration with the new club is being disputed by his old team Polokwane City and he had to sit in the stands instead, furiously texting the bench with instructions.
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A dispute hearing at the end of the month will decide his immediate future.
Celtic looked exactly like a team in relegation danger with occasional opportunity and flashes of potential but poor decision-making and heavy touches rendered them largely ineffective.
Deon Hotto threatened down the wing but striker Moeketsi Mvula, given a rare run in the starting line-up, got little service.
The half-time talks from both coaches did not seem to change much as the game continued to be characterised by errors and the difficulty of dealing with a sub- standard surface.
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Mvula had a half chance on the break away before being taken off but hit his effort, predictably, into the side netting.
His replacement Tshegofatso Mabaso might have grabbed a vital goal with a shot 10 minutes from time right in front of goal but his snap effort went wide.
The 20-year-old then had an opportunity some three minutes when a long pass saw him turn the defence but Shu-Aib Walters made his only serious save of the game to keep Celtic’s goal tally for the season on a paltry 12 from 21 games – the poorest of the season.
- Times Live
PHOTO: Lyle Lakay of Bloemfontein Celtic fighting for the ball with Ebrahim Seedat of Cape Town City FC during the Absa Premiership match at Dr. Molemela Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Image by: Charle Lombard/Gallo Images