Bloem Celtic, Swallows share the spoils in Bloemfontein

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John Maduka (Gallo Images)
John Maduka (Gallo Images)

It was honours even at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium on Tuesday evening as Bloemfontein Celtic rallied from behind to claim a 1-1 draw with Swallows FC.

After a goalless first half, Swallows drew first blood through Kgaogelo Sekgota on 55 minutes before Celtic bounced back with a leveller on the hour mark, Neo Maema netting the all-important goal.

The first half proved to be a closely fought contest as both defences came out on top, limiting the number of goalscoring chances throughout.

Celtic started the brighter of the two sides and fashioned two great chances in quick succession near the 10-minute mark.

Ndumiso Mabena was on the end of both chances but failed to make Swallows pay, first firing a speculative effort from range harmlessly over the bar before failing to find the target from a similar position a minute later.

After a lengthy lull in play with both teams struggling to create anything of note, the match sprang back to life in the 40th minute as Sekgota bore down on goal before sending a left-footed effort narrowly wide of the left post.

And the first shot on target eventually arrived on 45 minutes, Ruzaigh Gamildien firing a long-range shot straight into the grateful arms of Celtic keeper Sipho Chaine.

Celtic had one last chance as the half drew to a close but the Swallows defence was alert to the danger, quickly closing down Harris Tchilimbou as he looked to convert from close range.

Tchilimbou threatened again five minutes after the restart but he was unable to direct his header on target after rising to meet Sello Matjila's inswinging cross.

The Dube Birds went on to claim the lead five minutes later, though, as Chaine inexplicably passed the ball straight to the lurking Sekgota, who said thank you very much before firing the ball into an unguarded net.

Celtic didn't let their heads drop after falling behind, quickly mounting a comeback as Neo Maema rifled a long-range effort into the back of the net just five minutes later to restore parity.

The hosts continued to bomb forward in numbers, searching for a quick second goal with the momentum in their favour.

However, they were unlucky not to score in the 75th minute as Maema saw his curling effort from range come back off the post, with Swallows keeper Virgil Vries denying Lucky Baloyi what looked to be a certain goal on the follow-up.

Celtic created a handful more chances as the second half drew to a close but failed to find the mark while at the opposite end of the pitch, Daniel Gozar and Bantu Mzwakali squandered chances in injury time.

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