Honours even in Golden Arrows, Bloem Celtic clash

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John Maduka (Getty Images)
John Maduka (Getty Images)

It was honours even at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Sunday afternoon as Golden Arrows and Bloemfontein Celtic played to a 1-1 draw in the DStv Premiership.

Celtic claimed the lead against the run of play in the first half as Victor Letsoalo headed home from close range but Celtic rallied after the break, eventually drawing level through Knox Mutizwa on 72 minutes before Ntsako Makhubela received his marching order late on for a second bookable offence.

The first half produced a decent amount of action but the afternoon sun took its toll on both sets of players as the match progressed.

After a muted start to the encounter, the first chance of note eventually arrived in the eighth minute. However, the chance came to nothing as Letsoalo failed to direct his header on target from a difficult angle after Menzi Masuku sent an inviting cross into the danger area.

Arrows hit back with their first attempt on goal just two minutes later but that too went to waste as Pule Mmodi unleashed a speculative effort from range that drifted high and wide to the right.

Mmodi had another chance to fire Arrows in front a few minutes later but he failed to produce enough power on his shot, allowing Celtic keeper Jackson Mabokgwane to snap up the tame effort with ease.

After a short drinks break at the midway point, Arrows again went close as Velemseni Ndwandwe sent a headed effort wide of goal.

However, it was Celtic who drew first blood against the run of play in the 34th minute, Letsoalo headed home from close range after being teed up by Masuku's pinpoint delivery.

Arrows redoubled their efforts after falling behind but they were unable to make their chances count as Ntsako Makhubela fired straight into the grateful arms of Mabokgwane before team-mate Knox Mutizwa saw his header come back off the crossbar with Mabokgwane out of position.

The hosts picked up where they left off after the break, making their intentions known early on.

Mmodi saw his right-footed shot from outside the box saved in the bottom left corner by Mabokgwane while Lindokuhle Mtshali fired wide of the mark a few minutes later after being teed up by Mutizwa.

Mtshali was hauled off for an early shower shortly thereafter, with Siphamandla Sabelo coming on to replace him.

Sabelo almost grabbed an assist just one minute after entering the fray as he flighted a looping corner kick into the box but Thabani Zuke was unable to capitalise as he fired high and wide to the right of goal.

Celtic eventually mustered a response in the 68th minute but Letsoalo failed to add to his first-half goal as he headed wide from a good position in the box.

Neo Maema also went close for the visitors after trying his luck from a difficult angle but his long-range shot was saved in the bottom right corner by Arrows keeper Sifiso Mlungwana.

However, Arrows would finally get the breakthrough they were looking for in the 72nd minute as Mutizwa headed into the bottom right corner from close range to set up a tense finish to the encounter.

Gladwin Shitolo fired wide of the left-hand post in the 81st minute before Makhubela was sent off after picking up a second yellow card following a foul on Shadrack Kobedi.

Arrows fashioned one last chance in injury time but Mutizwa was unable to capitalise, heading wide from Seth Parusnath's inviting cross.



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